Chicago at a Glance
Chicago: Finding a Job and Social Security123RF
Chicago prides itself on being one of the greenest cities in the US.
Once you have settled on a job industry you would like to work in or have skills in, you must go about finding a vacancy. The best way to find a job in Chicago is to look in the classifieds sections in the city’s major newspapers: The Chicago Tribune (the Trib in vernacular), the Sun Times and the Daily Herald come highly recommended.
Additionally, websites such as Chicago Jobs or monster.com will provide you with opportunities to search for jobs. It is not uncommon in the United States to send an unsolicited job application with a cover letter indicating what you can offer the company of your choice.
The “City in a Garden”
Chicago’s former mayor has underscored his commitment to making Chicago the greenest city in the United States. Over the past couple of years, the city has become the leader in initiating environmentally-friendly practices, such as the green roof development – along with several “city farms”, the Chicago Brownfields Initiative, the Chicago Climate Action Plan, and the Green Permits Program.
In addition to these initiatives, which attempt to slow down the deterioration of the environment and which have proven successful thus far, Chicago also invests heavily in green business. It has become a leader in green industries such as wind, biomass, construction, water, and transport, to name a few. For example, currently, Chicago has 17 wind energy companies, more than 300 R&D facilities in its metropolitan area, and more than 4,000 workers employed in green energy.
Getting Your Work Permit
If all the information on Chicago thus far has piqued your interest, you should first and foremost begin your relocation by obtaining a work permit. The United States has very strict policies concerning visas, and the application process may take you some time.
If you are planning on applying for a Permanent Worker Visa, meaning you will be staying in the Chicago area (and possibly moving on to other US cities) indefinitely, there are several categories for which you can apply:
- EB 1: This category is for people with special skills in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics, as well as professors, researchers and executives of multinational companies
- EB 2: The second preference is reserved for persons who hold advanced degrees. Please note that for this category, a labor certificate is required (see the US Department of Labor website for more info).
- EB 3: reserved for professionals and skilled workers with a minimum of two years training in their field
- EB 4: reserved for religious workers, employees of US foreign service posts, alien minors that are wards of court in the US
- EB 5: meant for business investors investing anywhere from US$ 500,000 to US$ 1 million in a company that employs at least ten US workers
Social Security and Taxes
Everyone in the entire United States – regardless of residence status – is required to have a social security card with an 8-digit number that is needed for such things as opening a bank account, renting a home, or applying for a job. To find out how you can apply for a social security card, consult the Social Security Administration’s electronic factsheet.
Taxes and social security are controlled by the Internal Revenue Service of the US Department of Treasury. All foreign nationals, regardless of their residence status, will be taxed just as US Americans. Visit the Internal Revenue Service for more detailed information on forms and due dates for filing taxes in the US. There are also numerous tax attorneys and accountants, which can help you out with any questions you may have. It is best to consult the Chicago branch of the Yellow Pages or ask your employer for help.