WORK OVERSEAS for South Africans, Employment USA
Are you fit and healthy? Have you always yearned to travel and work in America or other countries and work abroad while you travel? Have you always wanted to do something completely different and stand out from the crowd? Well for a great many South Africans, this has become a reality. Every year, hundreds of young South Africans aged between 20 and 28, book their job interviews, fill in the application forms, and those that make the grade, pack their bags, grab their work visas and air tickets and head off to America to work the Carnival circuit for up to 10 months of the year.
The Carnival? A traveling amusement park? These days, the old stereotype of the great American Amusement Park is no longer true – there are no grubby ne’er do wells or criminals working there trying to keep a low profile, nor are the good ones crammed with dangerous rides, cheap toys or food and dodgy people out to make a quick buck. Not anymore. The hard working employees that keep these huge corporations going, are known as ‘carnies’ and have been working the carnival circuit since the early 1800’s. Some South Africans have even started calling themselves ‘Afri-carnies’. Many of the people who travel with the Carnival are permanent and hold positions passed down through their families. They travel from town to town over the long summer season with the carnival, rest over winter and return every year. They form the basic core but it is the young South Africans and other travellers or migrant workers from all over the world, eager to work and travel, who make up the rest of the staff. Established overseas recruitment agencies like Jobs-abroad and Away2Xplore with its head office based in Midrand, Gauteng, have placed thousands of young South Africans with US employers to work at these amazing places and have been doing so since 2002.
And South Africans are in high demand by the American employers. Hard working, polite and game for anything, South Africans are heading over to the USA in droves. Out of many employees, you are likely to find that one third or more of them keep returning for more work in America from South Africa and they keep going back for more. But why?
The work can be demanding – both physically and mentally. You rarely get a full day off and are likely to work up to, or more than 16 hours a day. . You have to live in shared accommodation – probably with complete strangers unless you are very fortunate to be placed with your partner or friend. The work is hard and the pace can be gruelling, but if you can make it here, you can literally make it anywhere! The carnival employers follow a very strict schedule and need a willing, disciplined and flexible crew to make things run smoothly. Americans can be direct and are often perceived as rude, so those that don’t take offence easily do better than others that do. But once you are over your initial shock and probable home sickness, you can have an incredible experience and make lifelong friends.
So what is the attraction? Is it the money? Well that is certainly part of the allure. These young travellers earn up to US $330 a week or around SA R21 000 per month. The US Dollar is strong against the South African Rand so what might seem a meagre entry-level wage for unskilled work, from an American citizen’s point of view, is actually a good deal for a South African looking for an overseas work adventure. Food can be inexpensive but often shared between bunkmates which drops the cost.
The real attraction is legally working your way around America for almost a year visiting up 10 different states, and any number of small towns the Carnival stops at. On some routes, the Carnivals travel from Miami in the far South of America all the way to Calgary (and the world famous Stampede) in Canada. And for those lucky enough to have what it takes, your future employer funds and arranges your work permit, air tickets to and from America, domestic bus or airfare and your recruitment and orientation training expenses such as the overseas work program through your South African recruiter, Jobs-abroad supported through its mother company . The total value of package can be around R25 000 depending on where you go or for whom you work. So if you go there and you want to save money to bring back home, it is very possible to bring home up to R100 000 after a season.
However, the temptation to party as hard as you will be working is always there, and you might find that you haven’t saved quite as much as you had hoped to do at the end of the season. The choice is always yours! A word of caution: If you party too hard, you may not be welcome back to make up for wasted money the following year. The employers need disciplined crew that take their job seriously. They often won’t welcome back the big jollers who more often than not struggle to work with hangovers or too many late nights, which slows them down and gives them a bad attitude. This is unacceptable. You are there to work the American carnival circuit and are being paid to do so – so it is important you hold up your end of the bargain. The rewards for this hard work are immense.