Employees

“Things to know about working in America”


There is a serious shortage of seasonal workers in the United States. You can get an opportunity to work on a temporary basis of 6 to 10 months. The employers in the United States will look after the South African workers because they are hard workers and very responsible.

If you believe that you are a hard worker and can work under pressure, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.

 

Employees we are looking for should be:

  • Hard working
  • Responsible and mature
  • Adaptable – You must be able to work in a group, be able to read, write and understand English. You also have to be able to communicate well.
  • Must have a valid Passport
  • Must have a drivers license, preferring a Code 14 license (heavy vehicle license)
  • Must be 18 yrs or older

How does the process work?

  • The employer first applies at the Department of Labor to be able to employ H-2A employees.
  • The employer has to qualify for the program. In order to qualify, they have to get a housing approval by the Department of Labor, and the job has to be advertised to see if there is any American employee’s that may be able to fill the position.
  • The department of Labor then gives the employer a Labor certification, which allows the employer to file the application with the INS (USCIS) to get the work permit.
  • This process takes about 45 to 60 days.

What is the H2-A Visa?

  • It is a non-immigrant, seasonal agricultural (farming) visa.
  • Seasonal demand determines placement periods and can be for a maximum of 10 months.
  • H2A workers will receive reimbursement for their transportation costs from South Africa to their place of employment.
  • The employer, at no cost to the employee, will provide a furnished house for the duration of the contract.
  • The employee is responsible for his/her own cooking and provision of food.
  • Hourly rate is a flat rate (minimum wage are determined by the Department of Labor – differs from State to State).
  • Click here for wage schedule (This may change from time to time, and is only an indication)
  • No taxes are withheld. Employer provides Workman’s Compensation or equivalent insurance for work related injuries.

Information for the Harvesting crew:

  • Employee has to have knowledge of harvesting and must have a heavy vehicle license (International License).
  • You also have to get a heavy duty license in the United States, called a CDL. It is not a difficult test, but you have to study for it ahead of time. This will be arranged by your employer.
  • The employers will request a drug test, if you do not pass the drug test you will be fired, and send back to South Africa on your own cost.
  • When it comes to housing, harvesting crews live in mobile homes and in some cases, employers do use motels.
  • Since you’ll be spending a lot of time with fellow South Africans or other crew members, it is vital to have good working relationships.
  • Housing is for free, but you have to pay for your own meals unless we tell you differently. If you have to provide your own meals, there will be facilities to do so.
  • For the harvesting crew, you can have fixed salaries per month or it may be per hour.
  • If it is per hour, you will be paid every two weeks. Hourly pay rates are determined by the Department of Labor and are different from state to state.
  • The weather plays a big role in harvesting.
  • You have to be prepared that in some cases there might be rainy days where you will not be as busy; it might also be a drought, and this too could cause you to spend some boring times at home.
  • During normal working days you will be expected to work long hours and under pressure.

Information for farm workers (Hog, Beef, Milking parlors, etc)

  • The employer will provide housing; it can be a house or an apartment.
  • Housing is free, and you can share it with a few other South Africans (up to the amount the Department of Labor approves the house for).
  • The house is supplied with the necessities and cooking facilities. You have to buy and prepare your own food.
  • Wages are paid by the hour and the rate is different from state to state depending on the Effective Wage Rate (determined by the DOL).
  • Before you come to the United State, the agent will inform you what your wage rate will be.
  • When it comes to laundry, it is normal for you to do your own laundry. Many homes are provided with a washer and dryer, if not, there will be a Laundromat in town, where you will be able to do your own laundry.
  • It is wise to bring enough clothes for ten days.

Plane tickets:

  • The employer will pay back the plane ticket.
  • You will receive half of the ticket back halfway through your contract and the rest at the end of your contract.
  • If you leave before any such time, you will forfeit your plane ticket reimbursement.
  • The airport tax and medical insurance will not be reimbursed.
  • The necessary arrangements will be made by the employer to pick you up at the airport.

Transportation:

  • The employer will provide transport to and from work.
  • After work, you are responsible for your own transportation.

Taxes:

  • H2A employees do not need to pay taxes in America for 183 days.
  • The employer will give you a 1099 tax form at the end of your contract. Make sure you get the tax form at the end of your contact; you will need it when you go to the consulate for your second term.
  • When you arrive in the United Sates your employer will ensure that you get a social security card.
  • You will need your passport, work permit, and birth certificate to get a social security card.
  • Remember your original birth certificate or a notarized copy – otherwise you will not qualify for a CDL, get a social security card, or be able to open a bank account.

Bank account:

It is important to open your own bank account, and make sure you get an ATM card. Your employer will help you with opening a bank account. An ATM card will help you deposit money into your account, and be able to withdraw money.

When you want to transfer money from the USA to SA, you will need:

  • Your SA Bank‘s name and address
  • Your bank’s swift code
  • Your bank’s routing number
  • Your account number

 

Before you leave for America:

  • You will be asked by your agent to have a full medical test done to ensure that you are medically fit to work.
  • This can be done by your house Doctor or at any other Medical Doctor. This need to be send to your agent soon after your application is completed. Your application together with your medical fitness certificate will be submitted to the employer for review.
  • Bring an original birth certificate with you – You can get that at your local Department of Home Affairs.
  • PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THAT – IT’S VERY IMPORTANT
  • Get an international drivers license
  • Get medical insurance and life insurance
  • Exchange your Rands for Dollars in South Africa at the airport. $200 is a good start for the first two weeks.
  • Lock your luggage and keep your hand luggage with you at all time.
  • Remember some reading material for the flight, and for layovers.
  • Keep all your documentation and your passport with you, and protect it.
  • Remember not to watch other peoples baggage if they ask, it could be a trap.
  • Keep your employer’s phone number with you as well as the address where you will be working.
  • Take your bank information with you, in case you want to transfer money
  • Leave your cellphone at home. You can bring it over if you have roaming on your phone. We do not recommend that because it is extremely expensive.
  • You can buy cheap phones at your local Wall Mart center for +/- $20. It has a build in sim card and only needs to be recharged with airtime. Airtime is widely available.
  • Remember to bring an American adapter for your electrical equipment. In the USA, the electricity is 110V instead of 220V.

When you arrive in the United States:

  • You will receive an I94 form when you go through the airport security. This form must be kept in your passport at all times.
  • Groups that will be working at the same employer, make sure you stay together until the employer picks you up.
  • Please keep your employers contact details with you so that you can contact him if you need to for any reason.

When you start working in America:

  • Remember that you are in America and you have to follow the laws of America.
  • Please remember that the laws are different in all states.
  • Please familiarize yourself with the laws of the state you will work in.
  • Ask your employer what he/she expects from you.
  • Ask what your salary will be.
  • Record all agreements so that there cannot be any misunderstanding
  • If you are unhappy, discuss it with your employer and only if you cannot get an acceptable result, call the office in America.
  • You are in America and it is expected that you speak English, if you don’t it can cause problems.
  • Wal-Mart is a good, inexpensive place to shop.
  • The Law in the USA is very strict and it is enforced. Don’t drive over the speed limit, don’t use drugs, and don’t use or buy alcohol if you are under 21. The legal drinking age in the USA is 21, if you get caught for any of these things you can be put in jail and be fired.

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