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Global Shmobal

Globalization, global perspective, global business…it seems like every business wants to jump on the global bandwagon but yet, for some reason, international graduate students continue to struggle finding jobs in the US. Even businesses that pride themselves on having a global footprint are quick to say they don’t sponsor internationals.

Globalization, global perspective, global business…it seems like every business wants to jump on the global bandwagon but yet, for some reason, international graduate students continue to struggle finding jobs in the US. Even businesses that pride themselves on having a global footprint are quick to say they don’t sponsor internationals. Is it just me, or does that seem just a tad hypocritical?  

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Why are most companies unwilling to sponsor international candidates? Is it the money? The process?  

It can’t be the money. Many organizations pay signing bonuses that are two to three times more than the $2,000-$3,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) filing and attorney’s fees associated with an H-1B visa.   

It can’t be the process. Although I’ll be the first to admit the process can seem a bit daunting, hiring a graduate student for long-term employment (up to six years) is actually pretty straight forward. To do so, according to International Student and Scholar Services at the University of North Carolina, an organization must:

  • Pay the actual or prevailing wage, whichever is higher, and benefits provided to U.S. workers in similar jobs.  Pay return transportation to the country of last residence if the employer dismisses the non-immigrant employee prior to the end date of the H-1B approval.
  • Post a notice for 10 days at the worksite stating they are hiring an H-1B worker and providing information about the position and the salary.
  • Employers should follow proper hiring procedures, but it is not required that the employer determine if U.S. citizen or permanent resident workers are available to fill the position.  The position that the student is hired for should require at minimum a bachelor’s degree and the student’s degree should be appropriate for the field of endeavor. 

Some universities even keep an immigration attorney on retainer to help organizations navigate the process. 

The frustrating thing for international students looking for work in the US is that many of the same companies that say they don’t hire internationals do hire internationals. So, although the company policy says one thing, by matter of practice the company does something else.  

If we’re going to talk about how much we value global perspective, why don’t we start to consider talented graduate students for positions in the US instead of just falling back on the “we don’t sponsor” defense and pointing them to a satellite office in Bangalore. 

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Shawn Graham is Director of MBA Career Services at the University of Pittsburgh and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (www.courtingyourcareer.com).

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About the author

Shawn Graham partners with small businesses to create, implement, and manage performance-driven marketing strategies. His knowledge base includes media relations, business development, customer engagement, web marketing, and strategic planning.

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