Written by Derek Loosvelt
To say the least, the Trump administration didn’t extend a warm welcome to international students at U.S. colleges and universities. Will the Biden administration be more welcoming? Will international students have a better chance of securing H-1B visas? Will they have an easier time landing jobs and internships with U.S. employers? Are there new job-search strategies they should be using?
To answer these and other questions on the minds of international students as the Biden presidency begins, we spoke with international student career expert Marcelo Barros. Below is an excerpt of that conversation.
Vault: Just before Trump left office, his administration reissued rules for H-1B wage increases that seem designed to price H-1B visa holders out of the U.S. labor market. Should international students be worried?
Barros: In the near term, international students shouldn’t pay any attention to this development. This is the kind of news that distracts international students from doing what they need to do: figure out ways to make themselves indispensable to U.S. employers. In the long run, this rule could be placed on hold by the Biden administration. And, as we’ve seen in the past, the regulation could be challenged in federal court. Regardless, if they go through, the increased wage minimums wouldn’t be imposed until July 1, 2021, so their impact would not be immediate. In other words, it’ll be business as usual for the upcoming April 2021 H-1B visa season. Right now, current prevailing wage levels still apply. So, I recommend international students ignore announcements about possible H-1B wage increases for the time being and focus on getting hired in in the next two months, so their employers can hopefully file for their H-1B visas this April.
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