For Students Who Have Degrees from Another Country

Do you have a university degree from outside of the United States?  This degree may help you to find a job in the United States.

Who decides whether your degree has value in the United States?  There are three authorities who can make this decision: the company that hires you, the university that you apply to study at in the United States, and/or a credential evaluation service.  To learn more about the United States’ policy on foreign degrees click here.  This website also has a link to a comprehensive list of credential evaluation services for many careers and advice for finding work and studying in the United States with the help of foreign degrees.

Protect Your Money from Scams!

You worked very hard to earn your money.  Do not allow someone to steal it from you using a scam!

What is a scam?

A scam is a lie that con artists use to convince a person to give them personal information or money.  A con artist is a person who tells lies to steal money.

Here are some common scams in North Carolina right now:

1.  A person calls you and tells you that he or she is from Duke Energy.  This person tells you that you have an “unpaid balance”.  He or she tells you that you did not pay for your energy bill this month.  Maybe you paid your bill.  Maybe you did not pay your bill.  This person does not know because this person does not work for Duke Energy.  This person is a con artist who is trying to learn your bank account number or credit card number.

     What can you do to protect yourself from this scam?

If you receive this call, do not give any information to the person who calls you.  Do not call the number that this person provides in a message to you.  Instead, call the Duke Energy number on your monthly energy bill to ask if you owe the company money.

2.  A person calls you and says that he or she is from the IRS.  The IRS, or the Internal Revenue Service, is the name of the government agency that collects our taxes.  Maybe the person tells you that you did not pay your taxes.  Maybe the person tells you that you did not pay your taxes correctly and that you owe a lot of money.  The person asks for personal information.  He or she asks you to pay the bill immediately over the phone.  If you say no, this person may threaten to have you arrested or deported.

     What can you do to protect yourself from this scam?

If you receive this call, do not give any information to this person.

The IRS will never call you and ask you to pay them over the phone immediately.  The IRS will never ask you to pay over the phone.  The IRS will never contact you by email to ask for personal information.

The IRS will always give you an opportunity to question what you owe.  The IRS will never tell you that they are sending to police to your home for not paying.

Here is a link with more information about scams relating to the IRS.

Other Common Scams

1.  A person calls you or sends you an email telling you that you won a lot of money in a contest.  You do not remember entering this contest. The con artist asks you to give him or her your account number so that he or she can deposit money in your account.

     What can you do to protect yourself from this scam?

Do not give this person any personal information!

Do not click on any links inside an email like this.  The link may contain a virus.  A virus is a program that can either damage your computer or steal information from your computer.

2.  You receive an email from your bank asking you to update your information by clicking on a link.  Maybe this is a scam.  Maybe this is not a scam.

     What can you do to protect yourself?

Do not click on the link in the email.  Go to the website that is on your bank statement to check and see if any changes are required.

Do not click on links in emails, unless you know that the email is from someone you know; someone who talked to you in person or over the phone about sending the link.

Sometimes, con artists are able to use a virus to steal the email addresses of friends and send messages from their email to you.  These con artists are called hackers.  They are trying to steal information from your computer or damage your computer by sending you a virus in the form of a link.

3.  There are also a lot of scams for people applying for jobs.  There is a common saying in English: “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  For example, if someone offers you a job that pays you $3,000 every week to stay home and do easy work that requires no training, experience, or education, you should be very suspicious.  Ask questions.  Research companies before applying for a job.  If possible, talk to someone who works there before you apply for the job.

Writing Assignment

Can you think of any other scams that are common in the United States or in your country?  Write about these scams.  What advice would you give someone in the United States or in your country to protect them from these scams?

Click “Leave a Reply” and type your answers in beneath this article.  Remember to type your first name and your email address.  If you do not have an email address, type esl@gmail.com.  You do not need to provide a website.

How to Use Career Builder to Find Jobs

1.  On the left side of this website, you can see the phrase “Job Resources”.  Under “Job Resources”, click on “Career Builder” Job Search Website.  I took some pictures to help you see how to use this website.  If it is difficult to see the pictures on your computer, click on the pictures to make them bigger and more clear.

2.  Under “Keywords”, type a job skill that you have.  For example, maybe I have cooking experience.  I type “cook” under “Keywords”.  Under “Location”, type your zip code.  For example, maybe I am a student who lives near Wade Avenue.  I type the zip code “27607”.  Then, I click “Find Jobs”.

Picture 1

3.  For this example, I found 84 job opportunities!  Maybe I don’t have time to carefully read 84 job ads today.  I want to find the cook jobs that are best for me.  I click on “Advanced Search“.

Picture 2

4.  Now I have many options to find the best jobs for me.  Maybe I need a job that is very close to my apartment.  Under “Include Jobs Within“, I will select “5 miles“.  I only want jobs that were posted recently.  I don’t want old job opportunities, so under “Include Jobs Posted Within“, I will select “Last 7 Days“.  Then, I click on the orange “Find Jobs” link at the bottom left corner of this screen.

Picture 3

5.  Now I have 18 job ads.  I have time to carefully read 18 job opportunities today.  I begin looking at the job options by clicking on each of the orange links below “Search Results“.

Picture 4

6. Now it is your turn to look for jobs!  Good luck!

If you have any questions about searching for jobs on careerbuilder.com, type your questions in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

 

Understanding Worker’s Rights in North Carolina

Read the article below explaining basic worker’s rights.  Then, answer the reading comprehension questions below the article on a sheet of paper.  When you are finished:

1.  Click “Leave a Reply

2.  Type your first name in the first box.

3.  Type your email address or “esl@gmail.com” in the second box.

4.  Type nothing in the third box.

5.  Type your questions in the fourth box.

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage is the smallest amount of money a person can legally receive for working in North Carolina.  The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour.  This means that it is illegal to pay employees less than $7.25 per hour before taxes.

One common exception to this law happens in restaurants.  If a person is working in a job where he or she is earning tips that are expected to result in more than $7.25 per hour total, the employer is not required to pay this amount in addition to tips.  As a result, many restaurant servers earn as little as $2.13 per hour.  This is legal because the server earns a average total of more than $7.25 per hour with tips.

If you are receiving less than minimum wage and your employer owes you more than $50 as a result, you can report this by calling 919‐807‐2796.  The Department of Labor will pursue your money for you for free.  For more information, go to the Department of Labor Website and click “Wage Complaints“.  It is in blue on the left side of the webpage.

Wage Payment

Workers in North Carolina have a right to receive their wages on a regular payday.

Workers must be informed of the dates that they will receive pay.

All workers have the right to know their wage or pay rate, before they receive their paycheck.  Employees have a right to know information about their company’s policy for vacation, sick leave, and any other benefits that the company may or may not choose to offer their employees.

Equal Opportunity

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers because of race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability.  Employers are also required to pay the same amount of money to women and men for the same work.  If you think that your employer or a potential employer has discriminated against you because of your race, religion, gender, national origin, or disability, you can make a formal complaint in one of the following ways:

  • Write a letter to The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210
  • Call 1-800-397-6251 (toll-free) or (202) 693-1337.
  • E-mail The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at OFCCP-Public@dol.gov

If you believe you have been discriminated against, it is important to make a formal complaint immediately because of legal time limits.

For more information, see the Equal Opportunity is the Law Poster.

More Information

This is a list of some of the basic rights that workers in North Carolina have, but workers in North Carolina have many other rights as well.  For additional information about workers rights, go to the Department of Labor Website on the “Legal Affairs” webpage.  The Labor Law Posters on the left side of the webpage explain worker’s rights in more detail.

Reading Comprehension Questions

1.  Name three examples of basic rights that all workers in North Carolina have.

2.  An employee has been working at a factory in North Carolina for six months.  She has been earning one dollar an hour for her work.  She never complained because she believed that this was normal in North Carolina.  Then she learned that the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour.  What should she do?  Is it possible for her to receive the money that her employer should have paid her for the last six months?  Why or why not?

3.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because of his or her religion?

4.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because he or she has little or no experience related to the job?

5.  Is it okay for an employer to not give a person a job because of the country that he or she is from?

6.  Many servers in North Carolina earn as little as $2.13 per hour, even though the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  Is this legal?  Why or why not?

7.  A man was hired two months ago.  The employer never told him how much money he was going to earn per hour.  He has not received a paycheck for his work.  He does not know when he will receive a paycheck.  When he asks, his employer says he will tell him later.  Is this legal?  Why or why not?  What do you think this man should do?

8.  What are some questions that you have a right to ask when you are hired for a job?  What does an employer need to tell you when he or she offers you a job?

9.  Do you have any questions related to worker’s rights?

Understanding Your Pay Stub

Look at the example pay stub below.  Answer the comprehension questions on a sheet of paper.  Then, read the article explaining vocabulary related to paychecks.  When you are finished, answer the reading comprehension questions below on a sheet of paper.  Check all of your answers to make sure that they are correct.  Then, type your answers into the website:

1.  Click Leave a Reply

2.  Type your first name in the first box.

3.  Type your email address or “esl@gmail.com” in the second box.

4.  Type nothing in the third box.

5.  Type your questions in the fourth box.

Employee Pay Stub

Employer Name: Raleigh ESL Hotel
Employer Address: 2958 Gorman St./Raleigh, NC 27607
Employer Phone Number: (919) 555-1234

Employee Name: Ibrahim Mohammed Ali
Employee Address: 2947 Wade Ave./Raleigh, NC 27606
Employee Phone Number: (919) 555-5678

Employee No.: 3957293
Employee Social Security Number: XXX-XX-1234
Pay Period: 9/4/2014-9/18/2014
Pay Date: 10/3/14

       Current Earnings                                                                          Taxes Withheld

Type Hours Wage Total Type Current Year to Date
Regular 80 $10.00 $800.00 FICA-Medicare $18.30 $63.50
Overtime 20 $15.00 $300.00 FICA-Social Security $77.59 $486.27
Federal Tax $176.24 $1,090.62
State Tax $52.19 $292.43

Total Gross Income: $1,100.00
Y.T.D. Gross Income: $7,850.00

Total Taxes Withheld for this Pay Period: $324.32
Y.T.D. Taxes Withheld: $1932.82

Total Net Income: $775.68
Y.T.D. Total Net Income: $5917.18

Pay Stub Comprehension Questions

1.  How many hours did Ibrahim work?

2.  How much money did Ibrahim receive before taxes?

3.  How much money did Ibrahim receive after taxes?  How much money will he take home?

4.  How many weeks did Ibrahim work to earn this money?

5.  Why does Ibrahim earn more money for some of the hours he works?  Does he do two different jobs?

6.  What are the four different types of tax that Ibrahim has to pay?  Why do you think he needs to pay four different types of tax?

7.  Is this paycheck correct?  Check the math to make sure that Ibrahim received the correct amount of money for his work.

8.  What is the minimum amount that Raleigh ESL Hotel can legally pay Ibrahim for his work in the state of North Carolina?  Does Ibrahim earn more than or less than this amount?  If you do not know the minimum wage in North Carolina, read the information below.

Understanding Your Pay Stub

This pay stub has a lot of difficult vocabulary.  These are words that we need to understand finance in the United States.  Let’s look at some of these difficult vocabulary words and phrases:

  • Current Earnings – A person’s current earnings are the amount of money a person is receiving from a paycheck.
    • When you receive a paycheck, it is usually giving you money that you earned one week ago, two weeks ago, or even a month ago.  This gives your manager time to complete paperwork and send your taxes in for you.
      • This is very difficult for new employees, who often have to wait an extra week, two weeks, or even a month to receive the money that they already earned.
      • However, when you leave your job, you will probably receive one more paycheck after you leave to cover your last week of work.  If you quit your job, remember to ask your manager when you will receive your last paycheck.  Some jobs require you to collect a paycheck in person, while other jobs mail your paycheck or deposit it directly into your bank account.
  • Wage – A wage is the amount of money that you receive for one hour of work.
    • The minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25 per hour before taxes.  This means that it is illegal for an employer to pay less than $7.25 per hour before taxes.
      • There is one common exception to this law: If a person is working in a job where he or she is earning tips that are expected to result in more than $7.25 per hour total, the employer is not required to pay this amount in addition to tips.
        • For this reason, servers in restaurants may earn as little as $2.13 per hour.  However, most people give a 15% to 20% tip to the server, when they pay for a meal.  For example, if a person orders a $20 meal, he or she would normally give a $3 or $4 tip to the server in addition to the $20 that he or she pays for the meal.  This causes many servers to earn significantly more than $7.25 per hour for their work.  They receive most of their money in cash.
    • Employees who work more than 40 hours in one week are required to receive overtime pay.
  • Overtime – An employee who works more than 40 hours receives overtime pay.  This is an increased wage for all hours worked after 40 hours.
    • Overtime pay is usually 1.5 (or one and one half) times the regular pay rate of an employee.
      • If an employee earns $7.25 per hour, overtime pay would be $10.88 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $8.00 per hour, overtime pay would be $12.00 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $10.00 per hour, the overtime pay would be $15.00 per hour.
      • If an employee earns $20.00 per hour, how much would the overtime pay be?
  • Gross Income – Gross income is the amount of money a person receives before taxes.  Most people never see this money in person because most companies pay your taxes to the government before they give you your paycheck.
    • Sometimes companies send in too much money for taxes.  This is why some people receive part or all of their money back from the government when they file taxes in April.
  • Year-to-Date – Year-to-Date is a term used to describe the amount of money that is earned or spent on taxes beginning this January and ending with this paycheck.  On some pay stubs, the words “Year-to-Date” are written as “Y.T.D.”
  • Taxes Withheld – The taxes withheld are the amount of money the company takes from your paycheck to give to the government.
  • FICA-Medicare – Medicare taxes are money that we pay to the government, so that we can have Medicare when we are older.  Medicare is a form of government health insurance offered to people over the age of 62, who have paid taxes throughout their lives.
  • FICA-Social Security – Social Security taxes are money that we give to the government, so that when we retire (at age 62 or older) or if we become disabled, the government will give us money each month to live.  How much money the government gives a retired or disabled person each month depends on how much money this person paid in taxes throughout his or her life and how old the person is when he or she accepts the money.
  • Federal Tax – The Federal Tax is money that we give to the United States government each time we receive a paycheck.
  • State Tax – The State Tax is money that we give to the state of North Carolina each time that we receive a paycheck.
  • Net Income – Your net income is the amount of money that you receive after your company pays taxes for you.  If you are self-employed, this is the amount of money you receive after you pay taxes.  Even if your company pays taxes for you, you still need to file taxes every April to make sure that your company paid the correct amount!  Not paying taxes can cause problems later if you apply for a visa, government assistance, or for US citizenship.

Reading Comprehension Questions:

1.  What is the difference between gross income and net income?

2.  Why do we pay Social Security and Medicare taxes?

3.  When is it okay for an employer to pay less than $7.25 per hour in North Carolina?  Why?

4.  What does Y.T.D. mean?

5.  When does a person earn overtime pay?

6.  If a person who earns $12 per hour earns 2 hours of overtime, how much overtime pay will this person receive.