INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ ATTITUDE AND THOUGHTS ON TRUMP’S NEW PRESIDENCY AND H-1B POLICY

A lot of international students are pulling back their applications since the new presidential result came out, and decide not to come to U.S. Trump’s election has caused stir and panic across American immigrants, their main concern being their future in America as far as job opportunity is concerned. Yu He is an international student working at GETMII Inc., Allston, MA, a social company based in Harvard Launch Lab and also Vice President, Marketing MIT-CHIEF. He is a based in Boston which is mostly dwelled by Democrats. Yu is a prime example of those affected by Trump’s presidency. He says “If Trump does pressure minority groups or challenge the integrity of Chinese territory, I would consider go back home.” The effect and worries arises due to the extraordinary election of Donald Trump as the new US President Trump and who has been a strong critique of H-1B program.

H-1B is a non-immigrant visa category created in 1990 and which allows employers to recruit professional workers from foreign countries provided what they are paid is equivalent to what a Native American worker would earn. Given this program is a lottery system, there is a cap on the number of workforce firms can recruit every year. Typically, the H1B visa lasts for three years which can be extended to a maximum six years. This program is availed every year with the current statutory cap being 65,000 visas and an addition of 20,000 visas for foreign workers who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from an institution in US.

According to the American Immigration Council, H-1B program is competitive and that gives the reason why in 6 of the last 10 years the 65,000 cap has been met within the first five days. This year was not different as USCIS announced that it had only reached the Cap within the five business days that the program was made. This included receiving more petitions than the allotted 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption (American Immigration Council, 2016)

Before, this programme was not subjected to tight scrutiny and vetting but going with statements by President elect Donald Trump on the H1B visas, there are going to be more stringent measures so as to reduce the number of foreign workforce in America. His immigration plan is the instalment of nationwide E-Verify which is a move aimed at protecting jobs for the unemployed Americans. His desire to implement this measure cannot be underestimated as in August 2016, he categorically stated that he would work hand in hand with the congress to expand E-verify system and remove job magnet. CATO postulates that Trump’s H-1B policy proposal will reduce the number of legal skilled temporary migrant workers.

Initially, H-1B policy did not make it mandatory that American workers should be hired first for every visa and immigration program. As trump officially takes office, the reforms in the policy will mean that Americans are given first priority before foreigners are considered. This is if Trump’s statements are anything to go by.

Others such as Yu have decided not to focus on the negative side of the program but reflect on its good side. Yu is of the optimistic that the new policy will not target high skilled jobs which pay much higher. It will however benefit the natives as the new policy will create more job openings for natives. Highly qualified foreigners will also get permanent residents to retain jobs and brains in the US. This policy however is disadvantages foreigners who seek jobs in America as it will raise minimum wage limit for H-1B visas which will in turn make it difficult to obtain the visas and thereafter forcing American companies to prefer citizens to migrants and students like Yu will have to meet the high standards to qualify.

Regardless of the benefits of the new policy, international students are a worried lot. Most of them have the ambitions of working in America to fulfil their dreams. The old H-1B policy factored them in and gave them priority with 85,000 total slots. With the new policy in place, these categories of students will not benefit as they did in the old policy.

Yu weighed in on the Trump’s presidency and change of H-1B policies that would definitely affect them. Yu had plans of staying in America for two to three years. However, this may change as far as Trump is the president and pressures the minority and threatens the Chinese territory. According to Yu, the election results have made it more difficult to find a good job in America than before except for the Native Americans. Yu’s sentiments are not contrary to Kini Luo and Chuanyang Jiang, a graduate of Near East University and currently an intern at an American international advertising agency based in New York (R/GA) and a legal intern at Goss Associates respectively. They both feel hardship coming if the new policy is implemented. Like Yu, though Jang’s initial plan was to leave US after three to five years, or longer, the plans changes and he opts to leave the nearest thanks to Trump’s presidency. Nonetheless, the leaving may come after working for a period of one year. Yu is however optimistic that jobs, especially political consulting jobs will increase and the services of young talented individuals will be sought in the coming years.

Yu believes there are still more opportunities for anyone who is trying to be a goer. He asserts that in as much as Trump is the President, changes will not take effect immediately and as such, anyone who has the necessary prerequisite can get a job under this program. Kin also sees Trump’s presidency as an opportunity to be more competitive. Contrary to Yu and Jang, Kini is more encouraged and motivated by the outcome and does not see anything to be anxious about. Yu believes that in the event H-1B policies changes to be in tandem with Trumps wishes, the best way to get your next job is to have the best skill sets and killer vibe that will make you an impressive person in the job market. Yu additionally, believes the demand for high level skilled talent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) will still be high and the new policies might leverage the procedure of getting an H-1B. He further opine that the new H-1B will have more value than the current one.

Even though Yu, Kin and Jiang are frustrated by the Trump’s presidency, Kini cares less of the development. He considers other issues such as revision of resumes, application for companies, passing the dues and getting enough sleep as more worthy his attention than Trump’s presidency. His priority is to get employed in New York in the long run and Trump’s presidency does not deter him to pursue his ambitions. But Yu and Jiang differ with him in thoughts and feel the presidency may affect them and may move to other countries or their homeland.

The H-1B issues has raised the level of interest is the new policy and as evident in Yu, most international students have a clue of what really the policy is. This is not excluding Kini who though seems to have little interests and little knowledge on the American politics, understands that the policy is absurd. Kini does not feel any change in the policy will negatively impact his ambitions despite the fact that he thinks the new policy is absurd. For him, what deserves more time and his attention is his personal life regardless of the political environment and regulations.

Jiang had projected that the adversity may take place. This is what happened to him as Trump was announced President elect. The development majorly influenced Jiang’s decision and as a result, the election results have made it easier for him to leave the country. He states, “Now I have a much stronger eager and motivation to advocate what is right and wrong and to keep pursuing the right, for the plight is much more adversarial than everyone believed.”

Americans’ decision in electing Trump as the president has left international students with panic not able to comprehend or get a picture of what America holds for them in the future. The new H-1B policy by Trump specifically is what is driving them to panic. Most of these students feel they have a bleak future in America. But still, some such as Yu are optimistic that Trump’s H-1B policy may not take effect since he has been contradicting himself on the policy lately and changes may cause disruptions. “Trump’s saying deporting undocumented illegal immigrants while left H1B a heresy that he hates it but he contradicts himself,” observes Yu. “The H-1B system is also the feeder to the employment-based green card so any change here could disrupt future flows there even if no other changes are made,” he asserts.

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