Sometimes a doctor or a professor in a new country has to take a job in a factory because she can’t yet pass boards or get credentials in the new language. Some refugees have never had a chance at education or any work experience because they’ve grown up in a refugee camp. Finding a job in a foreign country is challenging. You can help.
Talk with your international friends about their past job experiences and skills. Learn about the challenges they’ve already faced and what they’ve already tried. Talk to others from the same background to find out what they’ve discovered to help them succeed.
As you seek to help them find jobs, ask to see their documentation. Check on their legal ability to work. Refugees are allowed to work right away. Tourists can’t. You can check with international students’ advisors to see their eligibility.
Help them make a resume.
Look for any government or private employment agencies to assist the search.
You can also search together online or in newspapers under “help wanted” ads.
((Link to World Relief’s example of online search))
Don’t forget to make sure they’ve applied for their social security card.
For job interviews they should take with them their social security card, their immunization record, proof of their address and phone number and a copy of their 1-94 card (they should not carry around the original as the 1-94 card can be very hard to replace).
Show them how to fill out an application and have them keep a copy so that they can look at it for their next one. Help them make an appointment and if possible go with them for encouragement. A prayer for them may be just the thing to give them courage.
Before they go for an interview, help them get ready. You can practice shaking hands and looking the person in the eye. Why do that? In some cultures it is impolite to look directly at ones “superiors,” while in many western cultures a boss might interpret such eye-avoidance as showing a lack of confidence or interest.
(Further Click: World Relief’s example of questions they may be asked).
Keep getting to know your international friends and you will find out more about their skills. These may help them supplement their income. You might help some get started with organic gardening, growing specific grocery items that are wanted by the healthy elite. Others may have amazing seamstress skills but need help connecting to a place to sell them or where they can work full time. Chris Ishii helped Hmong seamstresses use their incredible skills in the new context of a drapery factory in California.
One other way you might be able to help people find jobs is by networking with people at your church or business. You could encourage them to provide an internship for an immigrant. They may wonder how they will benefit from the time and expenditure. Many who are thus helped turn out to be very hard-working and loyal employees.
Though you may think it unnecessary to mention it, you should talk about how to avoid illegal jobs and stay out of jail. You just might help your friend keep out of trouble.
Help them know about adult learning possibilities so they can improve their skills in computers, business, and many other areas and thus improve their employability.