International students should be given priority for campus jobs

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international_studentwebThe United States Citizen Immigration Service presently limits international students’ employment to on-campus, especially for the students who are in the United States studying English as a second language. International students majoring in other fields are required to work on campus for at least nine months, and then they have the option of working off-campus as long as it is related to their major and they get school credit for it.

Given this requirement, it is amazing to see how few international students currently fill campus jobs.

A little less than half the international students enrolled are employed on campus. Certainly U.S. citizens are the majority walking these halls, but does this mean U.S. citizens should have preference in job placement, or given immigration law, should the opposite be true? International students should have priority when it comes to on-campus jobs, considering that on-campus employment is a requirement for them.

Before leaving their respective countries, international students are required to show a document to the embassy in their home country proving they have the financial resources to cover their expenses while going to school in the US. So while an international student may be financially stable before arriving in the country, no condition is permanent; sponsors can die, businesses can collapse and money can be misspent, not to mention medical emergencies, changes in transportation expenses and rent or even basic budgetary mistakes.

It may even be necessary for international students to work to help support their sponsors, parents or other relatives. Even in the absence of these extreme circumstances, money is needed for upkeep. But with obvious economic challenges and the employment stipulations of immigration law, one is forced to wonder how international students will fare.

Some make the ill-informed accusation that some international students only want to get jobs so that they can receive a Social
Security number, and after they get it, don’t show up again for their jobs. They do this so they can use that number to buy cars, phones, etc.

Even if this is true – and that is dubious – Isn’t it a good thing that these students not only get an education, but also contribute to our local economy by buying things they may need or want for the purposes of continuing their education?
If this is not true, and international students are really looking for jobs on campus because that is the only place they can work and because they need the money to survive, then UVU needs to come to their rescue and give some kind of preference to international students looking for jobs.

To do so would not be without its difficulties, and of course there are language and cultural barriers to be taken into consideration in any particular case. But nevertheless, it is necessary to protect the valuable, if temporary, members of this community.