How easy is it for international students to land a Swiss job?


Foreign nationals holding a degree from a Swiss university and wanting to find work in the Alpine nation got some help from the law in 2011. An amendment to the Foreign Nationals Act came into effect that allows them to remain in the country and look for a job for up to six months following their studies. The law puts these graduates on the same footing as their Swiss counterparts when applying for a job that is “of high academic or economic interest”external link.

During that six-month period, graduates can work for up to 15 hours each week and must show they have housing and sufficient financial resources. The six-month limit for finding a job does not affect EU/EFTA nationals, who benefit from freedom of movement under bilateral agreements.

International students in the UK are also constrained by immigration laws. Between 2008 and 2012, it was possible for non-UK/EU students to stay in the UK for up to two years after graduation without necessarily having to work. Since then, however, the rules have changed.  International students can work full time on their student Tier 4 visaexternal link after their final term, but only until it expires, which usually adds up to only four months.

The reduced grace period has made it harder for international students to access work in the UK after their studies. Despite this difficulty, it is still possible to find employment, although planning ahead is essential.

For international students in the U.S, immigration status is also probably one of the biggest issues determining employment chances, and that’s affecting some students’ thoughts on whether studying there is worth the trouble.  One report notedexternal link a 21% drop in the number of Indian computer science and engineering graduate-level enrollments, perhaps out of concernsexternal link about the Trump Administration’s stance on immigration and the availability of visas.  These concerns are echoed by some college administratorsexternal link.

But for students who do study in the U.S., employment is a big challenge. We already covered part-time work during studies, and those restrictions carry-over for recent grads.  Many studentsexternal link, especially those from India and China, are workingexternal link in the U.S. by way of a federal training program: OPTexternal link. This program allows a student 12 months of training after a degree, which can be extended another 24 months for graduates in STEM fields. (science, technology, engineering, and math) One analysisexternal link showed three-quarters of OPT students came from Asia, with 30% coming from India. OPT is just a training program, though, and there have been past reportsexternal link of low pay and long hours, because it’s not considered employment, per se.

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