Why Foreign Students Struggle to Find Work in the U.S. After Graduation
Getting a job nowadays is hard, but it is made more difficult for foreign students who are hoping to get hired after graduating from a university in the U.S.
According to Market Place, many foreign graduates face a lot of challenges once they get out of the university. A report from the Institute of International Education showed that for the first time ever, foreign students who are enrolled in U.S. universities reached 1 million — more than 50% more than the number gathered back in 2010.
Although this is considered good news for all the schools which primarily benefit the full tuition fees that foreign students pay for, it will not be a walk in the park for these students when it’s time to seek employment.
One of the many challenges these foreign graduates face is their visa status. If they are unable to get a job soon enough, they may be forced to leave a country. And when they do find a job, it’s not always guaranteed that their employers will grant them sponsorship to obtain a work visa.
Additionally, many foreign graduates face other worries that Americans don’t. First on the list is that they rarely have families in the U.S. so the whole “my uncle knows a guy” strategy does not necessarily apply with regards to job hunting. Meanwhile, others need to overcome cultural and language barriers, which may cause some employers to think twice before hiring a foreign graduate.
“Employers are saying, ‘Can this person represent me and my company?’” says Cindy Parnell, Executive Director of Career and Professional Development Services at Arizona State University.
Steve Chi, a Boston College graduate and a native from South Korea, said he always thought that getting a job in the U.S. is “almost impossible.” But because he wants to work in the U.S., he diligently applied for jobs and even sent 30 job applications per day.
Because of this struggle, Chi ended up paying a career coaching company to help him get hired. An average client would need to pay around $2,000 to $4,000 which many don’t have to spare. Fortunately for Chi, he bagged a job with a consulting firm in New Jersey after a couple of months of training.
However, Chi’s employment woes do not stop there. He will need to apply for a different type of visa – which is increasingly hard to get – if he plans to work in the U.S. for a longer period of time. So even if Chi is happy with his job right now, it may soon change when the terms for the H-1B visa becomes indefinite, especially under the Trump administration.