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Is it easier now for international students to stay in the U.S.?

With a well-documented drop in the number of international students studying in U.S. colleges, you may be wondering if it is now easier for these students to stay in the United States after graduation. For example, if there might be fewer applications for jobs, your odds of getting employment, and in turn, a work visa, could increase, at least in theory.

The reality is that the picture has always been fairly complicated and remains complicated. You still need to be proactive about making post-graduate plans and should not assume you will find a job that makes it possible to stay in the United States.

Alternative routes

That said, there are ways to stay in the United States or to return to the United States that do not necessarily involve you finding work in America after graduating from college. For example, you could go to work for a company in your home country and request a transfer to a branch in the United States.

Alternatively, if you have family members legally in the United States, they may be able to help you stay or return. You may also meet someone who is a U.S. citizen or lawful resident, fall in love and decide to get married.

Work visa

Of course, if your goal is to find employment in the United States after you finish schooling, then your best bet is probably to get a work visa. Many employers are known to be visa-friendly. They welcome foreign workers and can smoothly sponsor many procedures. You do need to work in some sort of in-demand or specialized field. The good news is that many career fields such as teaching, science and information technology apply. Still, you need to be as proactive as possible and plan early to find employment even though there may be fewer international students in your classes.

One tip is to find internships during summer instead of taking classes (or in addition to taking classes) so you can expand your professional network. You can also use optional practical training after graduation.