The Barriers and Burdens to Hiring Foreign Nationals

img250_Cambronne_236Educating highly principled global business leaders: the “global” component of our mission was a significant factor in bringing me to the Opus College of Business’ full-time MBA program. Having had opportunities to study overseas and work with people from around the world, I know that a global mindset and perspective is essential to being successful in business.

I came to St. Thomas with a professional background in immigration: government perspective from my time at the State Department in Washington, D.C. and more recently, as an immigration paralegal. In that role, I helped employers and foreign nationals navigate employment-based immigration processes.

Coming into the MBA program, I knew I would have international classmates, but did not expect almost 20% of my classmates to be from overseas. The perspective and values they add to our classrooms and conversations are invaluable to fellow students. They will be invaluable to Minnesota businesses too.

With my background in immigration, I more than understand both what my classmates will face when it comes to finding permanent employment in the U.S. I also understand employers’ hesitancy to pursue foreign national students for internships and full time positions. The uncertainties can be overwhelming.

As MBA students search for ideal internships and dream jobs, I am still surprised at the number of employers who will not even look at the qualifications of my international classmates, daunted by the unknowns of hiring a foreign national. With what my international classmates bring to the classroom, I can only imagine what they will offer their future employers. As a future leader in a global business environment, I expect to have to compete against the global pool of talent for whatever that dream job ends up being. I want to work in an environment that brings together as much diversity in perspective and experience as possible.

Legislative changes (hopefully) will someday lessen the barriers and burdens to hiring foreign nationals with U.S. degrees. Until then, I hope that more employers will engage in conversations to better understand immigration processes, so that when they meet their ideal candidate who happens to be an international student, the only question to ask is “When can you start?”

Allison Cambronne is a student in the Full-time UST MBA class of 2016.