When Miami University of Ohio awarded Chinese native Han Cheng, 23, a degree in engineering almost two years ago, he assumed he would be able to work for several years in the United States before returning to his homeland. What Cheng didn’t learn in his engineering classes was how difficult it is to receive a temporary work visa. After graduating, Cheng sent out over 500 job inquiries, but he could not find an employer to sponsor him for an H-1B visa.
“When I was talking to recruiters back home about going to college in the United States, they all made it sound like it would be easy to get work because the degree would be so desirable,” Cheng told the Columbus Dispatch. He returned to Shanghai last summer as his student visa expired.
The H-1B permits U.S.-based businesses to hire specialized foreign employees for three years (with an option to renew for a second three years). However, H-1B visa sponsorship is too burdensome and expensive for many employers. Smaller companies are reticent to hire foreign students because there’s no guarantee they’ll get visas, and that could leave a smaller business in the lurch.
As the population of foreign-born students in the U.S. increases, immigration experts say that remaining here to work after graduation will only get more difficult for students like Han Cheng. More than 800,000 foreign students arrived in the U.S. during the last school year (2012-2013); most came from China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. With only 65,000 H-1B visas available annually, it’s clear that few of those students will be able to work in the United States after they graduate.
If you’re studying abroad and you’re having issues or any questions related to your visa or status, you need to consult a knowledgeable immigration attorney. Only then can you get the answers to all your questions, as well as support when dealing with any legal issues that are related to your immigrant status. It is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney, because their complete understanding of the law surrounding immigration issues will help them aggressively defend your rights as an international student. Likewise, if you are an employer looking to hire international students, consult first with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you cut through the legal red tape. You’ll be glad you did.