The Graduating F-1 Dilemna: Taking Charge of Your U.S. Permanent Residency

My sons were down from school for Easter weekend and I had a nice chat about "the future" with Alex, my eldest, who will be graduating from the University of Florida this summer.  Alex is a bright, hardworking  young man, so I struggle to maintain that fine line between giving him my sage fatherly counsel and making him cringe.

With his graduation around the corner, and his plans for graduate school, I felt compelled to brief him on a lot of the global economic realities visible most clearly to those of us addicted to the Wall Street Journal.  He listened, and it is notable that the older he gets, the more he knows what he does not know.   As I told him about the barrage of clerkship requests we are getting from law students who are trying to get SOMETHING relating to law on their resumes before the finish law school, I painted a superficial but, I think, accurate picture of the impact of the economic realities of today on graduating students.  Alex, of course, is a U.S. citizen.  He doesn't have to worry about things like OPT, H-1Bs, PERM and the like.  In comparison to a graduating F-1 student who wants to live and work in the U.S., Alex has it easy.

Or does he?

What ARE the long term employment prospects for those graduating today from U.S. universities? Bright? Bleak?

I don't pretend to know.  But I DO know that my sons peers in F-1 status face significant issues in planning their post-college lives in the United States.  In addition to facing the realities of this still-reeling job market, they will be competing for jobs amongst employers who, more than ever, view the additional responsibilities associated with hiring a foreign worker with increased disdain and adversity.  This is going to affect TONS of kids in the next few years, among them the best and brightest who made it to America to pursue their studies.

In response to this, Melissa and I are beginning our research for a publication designed for these graduating F-1 students.  In it, we will explore:

  • tactical planning for seeking employment via Optional
    Practical Training (OPT)
  • how to present your "international-ness" as
    a plus and not a minus to prospective employers
  • post-graduation OPT strategies
    to optimize H-1B employment opportunities
  • making PERM an intelligent
    investment in the eyes of your U.S. employer
  • what to do if your employer's
    immigration attorney is terrible
  • elimination of the "H-1B
    entrepreneur" option by USCIS and what you can do about it
  • investment-based
    immigration options for apparently starving graduates

Stay tuned folks, and keep your seat belts on, it's going to get bumpy…(-;