Indian students in the United States (US) are left distraught as recruiters freeze their hiring process in view of COVID-19.
By Yashasvini Razdan
While batch-2020 students are just a month away from graduating, many Indian students studying in the United States (US) are struggling to secure jobs as the recruiters are on a hiring freeze. Many of them have taken student loans and are now facing the prospect of having to return home without a job.
Pearl, a student pursuing her Masters in Science (MS) from a reputed university in Boston said that the job scenario in the US isn’t that good. “My course ends in May and I still haven’t secured a job. Most of the companies have frozen their recruitment process for a while. My friends and I got through some initial screenings and tests but the process has slowed down considerably.”
The students that graduate file for an Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) which gives them a period of 90 days to search for a job. “The EAD has a start date for the 90-day period. For me, it is June 15, 2020, post which I have 90 days to look for a job,” Pearl said.
Mr. Sandeep Bisla, an overseas education expert at IDP Education, an institute which assists students in their preparation for overseas education, suggested that the best way to get through this tough time would be to build a network.
“Reach out to the educational advisor or career counsellor in the University. There are professors who guide students when it comes to applying for jobs. Students can always ask for recommendations and build their network,” he said.
Recently Harvard magazine which publishes news related to Harvard University published an announcement made by the President of the University Lawrence S. Bacow. He announced that certain measures would be taken to “Align the University’s spending with the decline in revenue.” These included “hiring freeze” due to the current COVID-19 crisis.
The students are now settling for research apprenticeships with the professors in their college.
“I am working on a research project under my professor. In a worst case scenario, he may be able to help me with a Research Assistantship,” said Pearl.
Mr. Bisla agreed that a Research Assistantship does help the students buy time. “The research needs to be approved by the University, only then can the student be allowed to stay there,” he added.
He highlighted the importance of staying on campus. “It is obviously cheaper to stay off-campus but if you are living on campus, it becomes easier to build a network and connections. The important point to get through this situation is to build connections via LinkedIn and other platforms,” he said.