International Students Struggle Finding Jobs
Many international students are having trouble finding a job after graduation, and as a result are having to go back to their home countries or continue their education here.
Tight government regulations are making it harder for international students to find a job. This is disappointing for those who want to stay here and work, students interviewed said.
“I came to the United States as an exchange student when I was 15 years old,” said Candace Juhyun Park, a UA student. “Initially I just wanted to experience the different culture of the states and I fell in love with the lifestyle of Western culture so I decided to continue my education in the states.
“I will be graduating in May 2013, so I have been trying to get a job. I attended the University of Arkansas career fairs and other national career fairs since my sophomore year,” Park said. “Every time I was frustrated by the fact that the majority of companies do not hire international students for full time jobs and internships.”
International students who would like to work here can only work at places that accept their visas.
“Those with a non-immigrant status such as an international student are required to find a company who is willing to sponsor H-1B visas, which is a temporary work permit,” according H1 base, a government website.
“I decided to stay in the U.S.A. after I graduated in order to get some experiences of working at a different country on my resume,” said Jaeyong Cho, a UA alumnus. “I heard from my friend that I can apply for H-1B visa and then it would be easier for me to get a job opportunity.”
It has not been smooth sailing for Cho since he applied.
“I went to several of career fairs, but most of the companies said straight away that they do not hire anybody whom they have to sponsor. I saw some of my friends who got hired easily but then the company found out that they had to do sponsor work, so they ended up not hiring,” he said.
Some students are choosing to persevere through the regulations and rocky job market for the sake of staying in the U.S.
“Based on my experience, companies were more flexible hiring international students for internships for full-time jobs,” Park said. “It’s understandable that companies are not willing to hire us because all the paperwork and effort they have to go through to hire us when they can hire just Americans to accomplish the same task.”
The cost and time involved with international students is a burden, an official said.
“The reason why companies do not want to hire international students is that it costs a lot, takes a long time to do all the paperwork,” said Jessica Luhn, international students’ advisor. “Also, there are some people who might quit their jobs and find another job, which means the effort of giving them H1B visa will be wasted for the companies. They do not want to take a risk of turnover students.”
There have been some options made available by the Obama administration for students studying the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Students can now stay up to 29 months after graduation if they continue their studies, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
“U.S. immigration law offers some new options for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with STEM degrees,” said Heather M. Stewart, counsel and director of immigration policy at the Association of International Educators. “Not enough American students are interested in these fields, so employers cannot usually find enough people with the high-tech and scientific knowledge and skills they need to fill available positions.”
There are 600,000 jobs in the STEM fields that are unfilled because without immigrants, the U.S. lacks the workforce to fill them, according to U.S. News and World Reports.