How Latin American Migrants Can Find a Job in the United States  

How Latin American Migrants Can Find a Job in the United States  

February 13, 2024 13 min read

Latin American happy family

The United States, often referred to as the land of opportunity, has historically been a beacon for individuals seeking a better life. For many Latin American migrants, the journey to the United States is synonymous with the pursuit of the American Dream — a concept that transcends borders and resonates deeply with the aspiration for a better life.  

To get a general grasp of the panorama, let’s review some interesting facts. 

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 20 million Latino immigrants lived in the United States in 2021. The five largest Hispanic populations in the U.S. by origin group are: 

  • Mexicans (37.2 million) 
  • Puerto Ricans (5.8 M) 
  • Salvadorans (2.5 M) 
  • Dominicans (2.4 M) 
  • Cubans (2.4 M).  

The other three origin groups with populations over 1 million are Guatemalans (1.8 M), Colombians (1.4 M) and Hondurans (1.1 M). 

Economic factors, often fueled by disparities in income, employment opportunities, and political stability, play a pivotal role in motivating Latin American migrants to seek employment in the U.S.  

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the journey of Latin American migrants seeking employment in the United States. From networking strategies to understanding minimum wage regulations, identifying migrant-friendly job fairs, and exploring the nuances of work visas, this guide aims to empower individuals on this journey, providing them with practical insights and strategies to navigate the complex yet promising terrain of the U.S. job market. 

How to Find a Job in the United States   

I. Networking Strategy: Join Community Groups 

In the pursuit of employment in the United States, Latin American migrants often find that joining community groups is not just a strategy; it’s a vital bridge to opportunities, support, and a sense of belonging. These groups, formed around shared cultural identities, offer a unique platform for migrants to connect, collaborate, and navigate the multifaceted landscape of the job market. 

Some of the main benefits of joining community groups are: 

  • Immediate access to a supportive network 
  • Navigating the unwritten rules 
  • Localized job opportunities 
  • Online platforms and forums 

7 Relevant Latino Community Groups 

Joining community groups is not just a networking strategy; it’s a pathway to professional opportunities, cultural enrichment, and a sense of community that transcends borders.  

Here are seven relevant Latino community groups migrants seeking a job in the United States can join: 

  1. 1. Unidos US 

Formerly known as the National Council of La Raza, UnidosUS is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. It focuses on improving opportunities for Hispanic Americans in various aspects, including employment, education, and healthcare. NCLR provides a platform for Latinos to advocate for their rights and connect with resources. 

  1. 2. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 

With branches across the U.S., Hispanic Chambers of Commerce serve as crucial hubs for Latino entrepreneurs and professionals. These chambers foster economic development, provide networking opportunities, and offer resources to support the growth of Hispanic-owned businesses. 

  1. 3. League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 

LULAC is one of the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organizations. It focuses on advancing the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, and civil rights of the Latino population in the United States. LULAC chapters often engage in community service and advocacy. 

  1. 4. Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) 

ALPFA is a leading professional association for Latino business professionals and students. It offers networking opportunities, leadership development programs, and resources to empower Latinos to achieve their career goals and excel in their respective fields. 

  1. 5. MANA, A National Latina Organization 

MANA focuses on empowering Latina women through leadership development, advocacy, and community service. The organization provides a supportive network for Latinas to navigate professional challenges, address social issues, and achieve personal growth. 

  1. 6. Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA) 

LCDA works to improve the quality of life for Latinos in various communities. It offers a range of programs and services, including job placement assistance, educational resources, and community development initiatives. 

  1. 7. Latin American Association (LAA) 

LAA serves as a comprehensive resource for Latino immigrants and the broader community. They offer educational programs, job placement assistance, and advocacy services to facilitate the integration of Latinos into American society. 

II. Create a compelling resume   

For Latin American migrants, navigating the intricacies of the U.S. job market requires not only showcasing professional experiences but also emphasizing key aspects that set them apart.  

Here are some helpful tips to get started: 

  • Emphasize Transferable Skills 

Transferable skills are the skills and abilities acquired in one context but are highly applicable and transferable to a different environment. Whether gained through previous work experiences, education, or personal pursuits, these skills serve as a bridge between your background and the requirements of the job market. 

While many of these skills are universal, certain aspects may be particularly pronounced in Latin American migrants due to the challenges and experiences they’ve encountered, for example: 

  • Bilingual/multilingual proficiency 
  • Cross-cultural communication 
  • Resilience 
  • Adaptability 
  • Community building 
  • Work ethic 
  • Resourcefulness 
  • Entrepreneurial spirit 
  • Highlight Language Proficiency 

In the U.S., a multilingual workforce is increasingly valued. Proficiency in multiple languages is an immediate strength, showcasing adaptability and a diverse skill set. Clearly list the languages you speak and your level of proficiency, whether it’s fluent, proficient, or basic.  

  • Use a Clean and Readable Format 

Ensure your resume is visually appealing and easy to read. Use a clean format with consistent fonts and bullet points to present information in a clear and organized manner. A well-structured resume captures attention and encourages a more thorough review by employers. 

  • Include a Professional Summary 

Begin your resume with a concise professional summary that highlights your key qualifications, experiences, and career objectives. This section serves as a snapshot of your professional identity, setting the tone for the rest of your resume. 

Craft your resume with care, and let it be a compelling testament to the skills, experiences, and diverse strengths you bring to the professional table. 

III. Attend Job Fairs 

Participating in job fairs is an excellent way for Latin American migrants to connect with potential employers, network with professionals, and explore employment opportunities in the United States.  

5 Job Fairs for Latin American Immigrants 

Here are six relevant job fairs that Latin American migrants may find beneficial: 

National Career Fairs 

National Career Fairs hosts events across the United States, providing a platform for job seekers to connect with a wide range of employers. These fairs often feature companies from diverse industries and offer opportunities for networking, resume submissions, and on-the-spot interviews. 

Latin American Chamber of Commerce Job Fairs 

Many Latin American Chambers of Commerce in the United States organize job fairs tailored to the needs of the Latino community. These events often feature employers who are interested in hiring bilingual candidates and those with a cultural understanding of the Latin American market. 

CareerEco – Diversity Virtual Career Fairs 

CareerEco hosts virtual career fairs that emphasize diversity and inclusion. Latin American migrants can explore these online events to connect with employers seeking a diverse workforce.  

Prospanica National Career Fair 

Prospanica, formerly known as the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), hosts national career fairs focused on connecting Hispanic professionals with opportunities for career advancement. These events often attract a diverse range of employers and are particularly relevant for Latin American migrants seeking professional growth. 

Bilingual & Diversity Job Fairs 

These events aim to connect bilingual and diverse candidates, including Latin American migrants, with employers seeking a multicultural workforce. Job seekers can explore opportunities in a range of industries. 

Remember to check the specific details and schedules for each job fair, as they may vary! 

Best U.S. States for Latin American Migrants to Find Work   

According to the Pew Research Center, these are the top 5 U.S. states by share of total U.S. Hispanic population

  • California (25%) 
  • Texas (19%) 
  • Florida (9%) 
  • New York (6%) 
  • Arizona (4%) 

Because of their relevance, we’ll focus on those five states only to review what makes them a good match for Latin American migrants looking for jobs in the United States.  

Here are key reasons why these states are a favorable destination for Latin American immigrants: 


California is a favorable state for Latin American migrants to find work due to its diverse and dynamic economy, cultural richness, and a range of opportunities across various industries: from technology and entertainment to agriculture and healthcare. With a particularly robust agricultural sector, California offers opportunities in farming, agribusiness, and related fields. The state’s agricultural diversity includes fruits, vegetables, and wine production. 


Being bilingual, particularly in Spanish and English, is an asset in Texas. According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, about 35.4% of the Texas population (over nine million people) speaks a language other than English at home. The vast majority (83.3%) of those individuals speak Spanish; overall, about 29.5% of Texans speak Spanish at home. Many businesses value language diversity, and Latin American migrants with language proficiency may find opportunities in roles that require communication with diverse populations


Florida’s economy is heavily influenced by the tourism and hospitality sector, creating job opportunities in hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and related industries. Latin American migrants with experience in hospitality or tourism-related fields may find promising prospects here. Additionally, cities like Miami have vibrant Latin American communities, offering familiar cultural elements and resources. 

New York  

Immigrants are the backbone of many vital industries across New York. According to the Center for Migration Studies, 70% of immigrants in New York are essential workers, including health care sector workers, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, bus drivers, workers in warehousing and distribution, and grocery and other food and beverage stores. 


Latinos are the second-largest racial and ethnic group in Arizona at 31% of the population, according to UCLA’S Latino Policy & Politics Institute. Although Latinos have the highest labor participation rate of any demographic group, they are overrepresented in several high-growth occupations that tend to pay below median wages, informs Unidos US. Some of the major industries where Latin American immigrants work are construction, agriculture, retail and manufacturing.  

Minimum Wage Rules by State   

The minimum wage in the United States varies by state and sometimes by city or county due to the presence of state and local minimum wage laws. The federal minimum wage, which is the minimum amount that must be paid to covered non-exempt employees, is set by federal law.  

The federal minimum wage currently is $7.25 per hour. 

U.S. minimum wage regulations for California 

Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $16.00 

  • Any work in excess of eight hours in one workday, in excess of 40 hours in one workweek, or in the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in any one workweek shall be at the rate of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.  
  • Any work in excess of 12 hours in one day or in excess of eight hours on any seventh day of a workweek shall be paid no less than twice the regular rate of pay.  

U.S. minimum wage regulations for Texas 

Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $7.25 

  • The State law excludes from coverage any employment that is subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
  • The Texas State minimum wage law does not contain current dollar minimums. Instead the State adopts the federal minimum wage rate by reference. 

U.S. minimum wage regulations for Florida 

Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $12.00 

  • The minimum wage is adjusted annually based on a set formula.  
  • The Florida minimum wage is scheduled to increase by $1.00 every September 30th until reaching $15.00 on September 30, 2026. 

U.S. minimum wage regulations for New York 

Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $15.00; $16.00 (New York City, Nassau County, Suffolk County, & Westchester County) 

  • Premium Pay After Designated Hours 1: Weekly – 40 
  • Under the new hospitality regulations, residential workers (“live-in workers”) are now entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in a payroll week, instead of the prior 44 hour requirement. Therefore, overtime hours for all non-exempt workers are now any hours worked over 40 in a payroll week. 
  • Employers operating a factory, mercantile establishment, hotel, restaurant, freight/passenger elevator, or theater; or a building employing security guards, janitors, superintendents, managers, engineers, or firemen must provide 24 hours of consecutive rest each week. Domestic workers are entitled to 24 hours of consecutive rest each week, and receive premium pay if they work during such period. 
  • Employees receive 1 hour of pay at minimum wage rate in addition to owed wages when the spread of hours exceeds 10 hours, there is a split shift, or both. 

U.S. minimum wage regulations for Arizona 

Basic Minimum Rate (per hour): $14.35 

  • Some cities in Arizona are raising their minimum wages faster than the state. Flagstaff, for instance, raised their minimum wages more. Flagstaff’s minimum wage is increasing from $16.80 to $17.40, and the tipped minimum wage is increasing from $14.80 to $15.90 per hour effective Jan. 1, 2024.   

Migrant Work Visas   

As Latin American migrants aspire to find employment in the United States, understanding the various migrant work visas becomes crucial. Navigating the complex visa landscape involves familiarity with different options and a clear comprehension of the application process.  

H-1B visas for skilled workers   

The H-1B visa is designed for highly skilled foreign workers, typically in specialized fields such as information technology, engineering, science, and mathematics.  

Eligibility Criteria: 

To qualify for an H-1B visa, applicants must possess a relevant bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. The job offered must also require specialized knowledge, and the sponsoring employer must petition for the visa. 

Application Challenges: 

Due to high demand, obtaining an H-1B visa can be competitive, as the annual cap is often reached quickly. Prospective applicants should be diligent in preparing a compelling case to enhance their chances. 

H-2A visa for temporary or seasonal agricultural work   

The H-2A visas are designated for temporary or seasonal agricultural workers. 

Eligibility Criteria: Employers seeking H-2A workers must demonstrate a temporary or seasonal need for agricultural labor, and they must provide housing and transportation. 

Application Process: Employers file petitions for H-2A workers, and migrants must be sponsored by an approved employer. 

H-2B visas for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work   

The H-2B visas are designated for temporary or seasonal workers, addressing the needs of industries with fluctuating labor demands, such as hospitality and construction. 

Eligibility Criteria: Similar to H-2A, employers must prove a temporary or seasonal need for labor in non-agricultural sectors. 

Application Process: Employers file petitions, and migrants must be sponsored by approved employers. The application process involves demonstrating the unavailability of local workers for the job. 

Ensuring Pay Equity and Non-Discrimination  

Ensuring fair and non-discriminatory practices is paramount for Latin American migrants working in the United States. Understanding the labor laws and anti-discrimination regulations is the first step in safeguarding one’s rights in the workplace. 

Labor Laws and Anti-Discrimination Regulations 

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) 

The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 

Prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 

Equal Pay Act (EPA) 

Requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. 

Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) 

Protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. Prohibits age-related discrimination in hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. 

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 

Ensures safe and healthy working conditions for employees. Sets standards for workplace safety and mandates training. 

Resources for Combating Discrimination 

Latin American immigrants in the United States can access various resources to combat discrimination and protect their rights in the workplace and broader society. Here are some key resources: 

American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) 

AILA is a professional association of immigration lawyers that provides resources, legal support, and advocacy for immigrants. They can offer guidance on various immigration issues, including discrimination cases. 

National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) 

NIJC provides legal services and advocacy for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. They may assist in cases involving discrimination, detention, or deportation. 

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) 

MALDEF is a national civil rights organization that focuses on protecting and promoting the civil rights of Latinos in the United States. They may offer legal assistance in discrimination cases. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 

The EEOC enforces federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against can file a complaint with the EEOC for investigation. 

ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants’ Rights Project focuses on defending the rights of immigrants through litigation, advocacy, and public outreach. 

National Employment Law Project (NELP) 

NELP advocates for workers’ rights and economic justice. They provide resources and support for issues related to employment, including discrimination. 

When facing discrimination, individuals should also consider consulting with immigration attorneys, local legal aid organizations, and community support groups. Combining legal resources with community support can strengthen efforts to combat discrimination and promote equal rights for Latin American immigrants in the United States. 

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