Visas for anyone are always troublesome and expensive, but for recent college grads under the Trump administration, things might be about to get a lot harder. Recently, there has been a lot of talk under the new administration that threatens the H-1B visa program, which allows highly qualified international students (typically masters or PHD students) to gain sponsorship from their hiring company that would allow them to stay and work in the United States. With threats made in March 2016, the now President Trump specifically promised to “end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.” Threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people and their families.
H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. The Us currently only allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. The highly competitive nature of the desired fields, as well as the cap on the H-1B visa applications make it very difficult to obtain. This always makes the notion that “immigrants are stealing US jobs” hard to believe.
As an international student, it’s already hard enough to uproot your whole life, leave your friends and family in search of a better life is already hard enough without cracking down on already very strict visa conditions. In my four years at Hofstra University, I have only known 3 cases of students who have successfully received H-1B. For us, it’s like winning the lottery and for some who come from highly impoverished nations, with next to nothing to go back to, it really is the only dim light we have at the end of the tunnel.
All over the world, people move for work and yes there are some hoops to jump through, yet lately the U.S is becoming more and more of an unmapped minefield. Where I have watched former native US Professors of mine pack up and leave for distant lands and new careers with ease, my friends are here running through minefields. It shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t support restricting an already next to impossible system. Hopefully, someone, someday sees that dim light the same way International students do and widens that tunnel a little more.