The harsh reality of a post-pandemic world economy is high levels of unemployment. The prolonged lockdown due to a ragging pandemic leaves the world economy in great stress. Post pandemic will be a major challenge, even for developed countries, to quickly revive their job market.
The USA has been impacted by Covid 19. Donald Trump’s indecisive attitude caused covid to kill thousands of Americans. Now, after more than a year, the USA’s economy suffers as the pandemic still is not brought under control.
The international student community has been especially hard hit due to covid. They have had to leave their campus and country of study to return home. As the borders are opening up, the economic slowdown has made it impossible for international students to secure jobs in the USA.
Working in the USA as an overseas student
America has a unique system that helps teenagers get part-time employment as early as 14. However, laws are different for international students. There are strict rules regarding where and for how long you can work while on a study visa.
For example, students on F1 visas are allowed only on-campus jobs. In exceptional cases, they may be entitled to work in education-affiliated jobs near campus. These part-time jobs help international students support their education in the USA. After competition for their degree, they can move on to specialized white-collar jobs.
Many students who just finished their degree from reputed U.S. universities are not finding jobs in their respective fields. The market has dried up, and nobody is willing to hire. The scenario is equally disheartening in all sectors. Students are giving up and returning home as they aren’t securing any jobs in the USA.
Sponsorship is a major route through which businesses hire international workers. This demands tremendous responsibility on the part of the employer. The entire process is, however, complex and expensive. The filing fee itself is $4500. Hence it becomes easier for employers to employ locals and not go through this hassle.
One might think this is highly unfair for international students who take out hefty loans to afford a U.S. college education. The inability to secure a job only increases their financial burdens. Finally, they are left to question, was a pricy U.S. degree worth it?
Significant hardships faced by international students in the job market
It must come as no surprise as more and more international students complain of discrimination in the workplace. Language, ethnicity, and race can be many factors that cause discrimination. American companies, especially post-pandemic, want to stick to local workers. They would happily give a more qualified international student to forego the hassle of their immigration.
Due to so many reasons, students want to return to their native country. Post pandemic behavior of workers as employers is unpredictable. Students from India and China assume securing a job there might be more comfortable. After the situation improves, maybe finally their U.S. degree will be of some use.
What are some of their other options?
Apart from returning home, there are a few more options available to international students. Any degree from top U.S. universities is highly valued across the world. So they can also think of applying for a work permit in other countries like Canada or U.K.
Canada is especially welcoming towards students from the USA. The country has announced new policies to attract Hongkongers. Also, their large-scale immigration scheme will make it easier to enter Canada in the upcoming years. Students unable to secure jobs in the USA can apply through the new pilot programs lanced by neighboring Canada.
Employers must change their attitude towards hiring international students. Maybe government intervention will be necessary to protect student interests. The USA receives billions of dollars in revenue from these students and doesn’t want its international student market to shrink.
International students bring in diversity as well as a new perspective. These students later become an integral part of the U.S. workforce. Such discrimination will only bring down the average quality of workers. This could not be good in the long run both for employers and international students.
Has U.S. education become less attractive?
Certainly, post-pandemic, the global world doesn’t remain very connected. Irregular travel bans are making international travel harder. The world economy is under recession, so prospective international students are rethinking their decision.
Studying abroad is an expensive venture. Not everyone can afford it. Many talented international students go above and beyond their means to finance their U.S. education. If they cannot secure high-paying jobs in the U.S., it will be impossible for them to pay off such expensive loans.
The ever-changing political climate, as well as a pandemic, is making international students rethink their college choices. The USA is fighting a pandemic, racial unrest, and gun violence and losing against most. Its election process in the middle of a pandemic was a spectacle for the whole world to see. Hence many prospective students have decided to opt-out of the degree or postpone it till the pandemic ends.
The National Association of Foreign Student Affairs predicts that the 2019 revenue of 41 billion from international students will likely drop post-pandemic. No longer is the American degree as fruitful as it is expensive. When international students pay a higher fee and a weaker currency, it’s hugely impacting their future finances. Without job security, nobody wants to take such a huge risk.
Students will also be looking into other countries part from the USA, which is somewhat better off. The labor markets will undoubtedly hire more by the end of the year, but it is a long wait for current visa holders. Currently, the market looks extremely poor for international students looking for jobs in the USA. It has probably been worse than the 2009 financial crisis. The economic impacts of Covid will be felt long after the virus dies.