Millions of people throughout the world dream to come to Hawaii. We get many emails daily from people from around the world asking us how to find a job in Hawaii. So we decided we should explain how this is possible and if you are one of these people, you need to read this.
How to find a job in Hawaii for US citizens
Hawaii’s warm climate and tropical beauty makes it dream place to live and work for many US citizens. However, the high demand of jobs in Hawaii makes employers pay less compared to US mainland employers. The average salary in Hawaii is between $30,000 to $50,000 a year, and approximatetly 20% of that is substracted for federal and state taxes. Knowing this, have in mind Hawaii is one of the most expensive places in US to live. A small one-bedroom apartment runs between $1200-$1600 per month in Honolulu, where most of the Hawaii jobs are. Food expenses for two people are a minimum of $1000 per month.
Jobs with best pay
The best paid jobs in Hawaii are in the fields of the medical industry, law firms and military and government jobs. If your job is in one of those industries you can make around $100,000 or more per year.
Jobs with lowest pay
Service jobs pay little in Hawaii, such as cashiers, tour desk assistants, receptionists, fast food workers, etc. The average pay for service jobs is between $8 to $10 per hour.
Waiters, maids, taxi drivers, tour bus guides also make about $8 to $10 per hour, but depending on where they work their tips can go up to $300 or more a day. Best places to make big tips are busy hotels and restaurants where there is a big turnover of people and guests.
Where to look for jobs in Hawaii
One of the most popular places to look for a job in Hawaii is Craigslist. Also daily jobs are posted on the websites of Hawaii’s main newspaper, the the Star Advertiser. If you are serious about finding a job in Hawaii you may also consult with a local job agency.
Many jobs in Hawaii feel more casual and laid back than on mainland US. Many companies don’t have a strict dress code and going to work with Aloha attire is very common. Because of Hawaii’s multicultural environment, you will meet people from all over the world, mainly from Japan, China, Philippines and Korea.
How to find a job in Hawaii for foreign citizens
Hawaii is a US state and US working regulations are very strict. People who are not US citizens or green card holders need a valid work visa to work in Hawaii. There are two main types of work visas – Investor visa and H1B visa. Most of the foreign people try to obtain an H1B visa.
H-1B visa to work in Hawaii
According to the US government: H-1B classification applies to persons in a specialty occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. This classification requires a labor attestation issued by the Secretary of Labor (65,000). This classification also applies to Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense (100).
In other words, to get an H-1B visa you need to have a specialty occupation which is in high demand in the US. Then you must have an employer who is willing to sponsor you and pay you a prevailing wage (which is required for all H-1B workers).
H-1B is difficult to get and once you get it, it is valid for 3 years, after which it can be renewed for another 3 years. After that you can apply for a green card.
Important note: If you lose your job while you are in H-1B status, you need to find a new employer within 10 business days who will be willing to sponsor you and pay you a prevailing wage. If you are unable to find a new employer, you will have to leave the US.
As we mentioned prior, Hawaii jobs pay less than the same type of jobs on the US mainland,; therefore, it might be challenging to find an employer in Hawaii who pays the prevailing wage. In case you lose your job while in Hawaii you may want to consider getting a job on the mainland US until you get a green card and have the chance to come back to Hawaii.
What other options are available?
If you can’t get an H-1B visa, there is another way how you can work in Hawaii. Come here as a student! Foreign students with an F-1 visa are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week in Hawaii after 9 months of their arrival in the US. This can be arranged through the school. If you need a job immediately you don’t need to wait for 9 months to pass by. You can get a job on campus (up to 20 hours a week) but keep in mind that usually campus jobs pay very little – about $7-8 per hour, which is not enough to cover basic expenses.
After you graduate from your school you will be given a one-year work permit to work in the US (OPT-Optional Practical Training). If you have a science, technology or mathematics degree (i.e. computer technologies) you will be able to extend your OPT for another 17 more months, while before your one year is over.