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Working on H-2B Visa - Know the Do's and Don'ts of the Workplace


This month's feature article should be of interest to all foreign nationals coming to work temporarily in the US. Below we lay out many of the 'Dos and Don'ts of the Workplace for H-2B visa holders.' We have often come across situations where new workers lack basic understanding about how they ought to behave at the work place or at social gatherings. This especially applies to temporary H-2B workers.


Do's and Don'ts of Workplace for H-2B workers:

No matter how much work experience a foreign national may have there are many unique circumstances associated with working in the United States. Often things that would be considered routine in your home country are not acceptable in US work places. Conversely, there are things that may take place in American workplaces that will seem strange to you. Having said that let's look at some specifics. We'll start with some "do's," things you should be doing.


  1. Come to work on time. Punctuality is extremely important to US employers, and do remember repeated lateness can lead to termination from the job.
  2. Smile. This is a small thing that goes a long way. Americans are prone to smiling, especially in service-oriented businesses.
  3. Always treat customers with respect. A common phrase you will hear in American business is, "The customer is always right."
  4. Do your work quickly and efficiently. For American businesses time is money, and workers are expected to have a strong work ethic. This goes right along with being to work on time.
  5. Find a way to talk to or communicate with your boss. Many misunderstandings can be avoided by communication.
  6. Practice your English as often as possible. Getting better at English will take care of many of the misunderstandings that can occur.
  7. Be willing to try new things: eat new or different foods, see new sights, and try new activities.
  8. Be willing to meet new people. You will find that Americans are friendly and outgoing. They will tend to be curious and want to know more about you and your home country.
  9. Dress neatly and conservatively.
  10. Be aware of and take care of personal hygiene. Most Americans tend to be concerned about cleanliness. Make sure to wash daily and use deodorant.
  11. Be patient. You may feel that the American culture and language are overwhelming at first. Keep in mind that with time, you will learn and understand more.
  12. Keep your voice at an acceptable level.

Now let's look at some things you should not be doing, the "don'ts."

  1. Worry! This is the one thing that can completely change your work experience in the US.
  2. Expect special treatment. You are simply a 'worker' and you will be expected to work just as hard as your American counterparts.
  3. Get fired. Lateness, theft, drinking on the job, drug use and disobeying employer rules are all grounds for dismissal. If you lose your job you will be out of status and have to leave the US.
  4. Leave your job - you are expected to stay and work for the entire time stated on your contract (there are rare times when extenuating circumstances will justify your leaving your job).
  5. Get a second job. This is a big thing. Your H-2B visa stipulates that you can only work for the employer that petitioned for you and is on your documentation.
  6. Brag or carry on about any of your previous achievements, or be an attention seeker.
  7. Be surprised if your boss is younger than you, or if your coworkers are of different races, religions, or a different sex. America is amazingly diverse; this is one of its greatest strengths.


Conclusion: You have to remember that things will be different in the US. We cannot stress enough that workplace relations between men and women, and the work environment, in the US may be different from what you are used to in your home country. Flirting and/or physical contact is especially frowned upon in the workplace. Either can lead to termination.

Generally a professional, mature, responsible and respectful attitude is expected at work in the US. Life can be fast-paced so managing your time is important. You will find that privacy is thought to be the right of every individual. Finally, Americans can be very blunt and honest, to the point where it might seem rude to people from other cultures.

Keep these points in mind and you will find that your time working in America can be a great experience. You will likely make some great memories and many long lasting friends and relationships.


ExpressH2B Attorneys have been training and helping foreign nationals put together the correct documentation for a visa interview. In our experience, the approval rate of H-2B visas for foreign nationals with the correct documentation is very high. If you are a foreign national seeking advice on visa denials consult an ExpressH2B attorney.



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