Impact of the Economic Stimulus Package on International Job Seekers and H1B applicants

10 years ago, I was an international student from Canada, completing my graduate degree in the USA. I had to adapt to a new country, navigate the exchange rate, which was 38% at the time and conduct a complex, job-search. Understanding the complex employment regulations and Visa criteria, was a job in itself. I know first-hand, how competitive the job market is and the challenges inherent in the immigration and Visa application process.
Now, fast forward 10 years, I live and work in the States. It has not been an easy process or transition, but it has been very worthwhile. Currently, I work at the Robinson College of Business, at Georgia State University. We are the largest business school in the southeast; with over 7,600 students, who represent over 150 different countries, nationalities and languages. Many of our international students, will seek employment in the USA and ask employers to sponsor their H1B Visas.

As a Global MBA Career Advisor, I provide Global Career Management to 500+ local and international MBA/MS graduates per semester. My services include helping students conduct both local and international job searches. The students and graduates, I work with include some of the best and brightest from around the world. They represent the type of talent, which is entrepreneurial, educated, innovative and who can contribute economically, to any country they reside in.

Frequently, my international students ask me:

· Can I work in the USA?

· Which American employers sponsor H1B visas?

· What are my chances of being sponsored?

Providing career guidance and advising, for my international students, just become a whole lot harder...

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes $787 billion in stimulus money. This Act, includes the Sanders H-1B amendment which includes strict regulations for hiring foreign workers under the H-1B program. According to the Going Global website: “The Sanders H-1B provision restricts the hiring of H-1B guest workers at bailed-out banks or any other firms that receive funds from the stimulus bill or from other emergency loans made by the Federal Reserve.” There is an additional provision, in this bill called the “Employ American Workers Act.” In effect, any company which has more than 15 percent of their workers on H-1B visas is considered Visa-dependent, as is any company receiving stimulus funds. Companies will be required to hire only American workers for two years unless the company can prove, they are not replacing laid-off Americans, with guest workers.

According to the Going Global website, “Many groups have expressed disappointment, arguing that the provision’s difficult requirements, will prevent affected U.S. companies from hiring the best available global talent.”

Worldwide, every country has been affected by this Global Recession. It is interesting to note the different responses to this stressor. In contrast to the USA, some countries, have used this tumultuous period to expand their talent pool and prepare for the future. Great Britain, Australia and Canada have created “Skilled Worker and Skilled Migrant categories” in their immigration policies. They are attracting huge numbers of young, educated, and entrepreurial immigrants to their job pool. Additionally, many European countries are working to retain their graduate students and absorb them into the local economy. In effect, the very candidates, we have discarded, other countries are actively courting, attracting, hiring and retaining.

On the flip side, many of my American graduate students, are now seeking Global employment. Increasingly, we have a world without borders and these students want all of their options open. They want to work on Global business ventures, Global environmental projects, Global Health Care issues. Increasingly, international exposure, experience, inter-cultural competency, bilingualism and international intelligence are job-requirements for business professionals.

At Robinson College of Business, our Global Partners MBA and International Business MIB programs, are amongst the most competitive and enable students to study, live and work internationally. In the Global Partners program the students attain two MBA degrees, one from GSU and one from the Sorbonne and a Graduate Certificate from Brazil. Once they graduate, these students are highly sought after and highly recruited.

1. What will our students do if other countries, favor their own citizens and bar American students from studying, living or working abroad?

2. How will this impact the Global economy and inter-cultural collaboration?

3. What effect will the different responses to the recession have, on the Global ability to pull out of this recession?

Author: © 2009 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon Cohen, MA,CPRP, Global MBA Career Advisor, Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University.

GSU alumni and community members, join us for Atlanta Speed Networking and Business Card Exchange June 11th from 6-8:30pm. This event is hosted by the GSU Alumni Association, in collaboration with Refocus on Careers Networking Association. Sharon C. will present on the "Verbal Business Card" at this event. Admission is free for GSU students and registered alumni.

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