Impact of COVID-19 USA Immigration Ban on Foreign Students

Every year hundreds of thousands of students apply for an H-1B visa with a hope to fulfill their American Dream. However, with an H-1B annual limit of 85,000, the dream remains unfulfilled for a majority of them. The same story repeats every year. However, as the world is dealing with the Pandemic of Covid-19, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, which puts a temporary ban on green cards for immigrants. This has left the lives of many international students in the States in uncertainty. So, if you are an international student considering to look for a job across the American border, here is how this immigration ban will affect you.

Don’t Worry! It is Just a Temporary Ban on Green Card Processing and not on H1-B Applications – This means that students can still apply for H1-B visas. This order freezes the processing of green card applications for the next 60 days. Then the situation of the pandemic in the country will be reviewed and it will be decided if the ban will be extended or not. This means the international students seeking to secure H-1B visas should not be affected by this ban.

But it is a fact that the USA is hell-bent on promoting and implementing “Buy American Hire American”

While the ban is temporary, the USA for sure wants to promote the hiring of American students as compared to international students. One proposed solution to this is to reduce the number of international students attending U.S. universities. By doing this, the F-1 international students who directly become eligible for American jobs will become H-1B bound job seekers once they graduate.

This means, over time there will be fewer and fewer candidates available for the U.S. firms to hire via the H-1B program. This will directly benefit the American workforce.

To increase your chances of grabbing the elite job and win the H-1B lottery, here is what the students need to do:

1) While being confident and positive is important, it is not enough. Students need to work on themselves and make their skills irreplaceable. It is also important to craft a job search plan that has the highest probability of beating visa odds and securing job offers.

2) Be flexible. The situation, as well as your rights in your country, is different from what it is in the U.S. Therefore, it is important to review your expectation and be flexible to make some changes to it if required. International students should carefully assess different aspects of their job search to find a smooth entry point in U.S. firms.

3) Utilize the benefit of OPT (Optional Practical Training). Post-graduation internships or unpaid work related to your field of study can be very helpful in buying you time as well in maintaining your immigration status. It is a bridge to H-1B visa that helps a U.S student to make a smooth transition from college to the workforce.

Business Community is Fighting for the Rights of International Student

From protecting OPT to pressurizing the U.S. government to do the right things from an immigration perspective, the business community in America is working hard to back up the international student community. Every year, tech giants like Google, Facebook, and are spending millions of dollars to deal with the issues of immigration. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has found an association to draw the government’s attention towards irregularities related to H-1B approvals by USCIS.

Covid-19 Hit is Temporary

While the batch of 2020 will take a big hit, the situation is expected to improve once the pandemic settles down. And there is no doubt that international students who properly prepare will have a greater chance of getting H-1B visas and great jobs in the U.S. in the years ahead.

So, the key is to make yourself the best version of yourself and work hard to be able to take a step ahead towards your American dream.