Description: In this episode, we are featuring a commission endorsed program for ACPA22 Annual Conference in St. Louis, MO back in March. Xiao Yun Sim and Yuezhong Zheng both presented on Navigating Job Search and Career Advancement as Visa-Holding Professionals in Higher Education and wanted to share their presentation through a candid conversation on our podcast. Both of them are visa-holding professionals in higher education where Yuezhong is a Program Manager at the Economics Graduate Program at the University of San Francisco, and Xiao Yun, a Career Services Consultant at Purdue University. If you are interested to take a look at their presentation slides and specific resources/links highlighted in the episode, visit-


Yuezhong Zheng, Xiao Yun Sim

Access the ACPA22 Presentation Slides and Resources –

Xiao Yun Sim  00:00

Welcome back to our podcast Yuezhong! For our audiences that this our previous episode that featured Yuezhong where she shared about her career journey in higher education, you should definitely check out episode 3. But for today, we are inviting Yuezhong back to Global Connections CGDSD, our podcast to talk about navigating job search and career development as visa-holding professionals in higher education. This topic that both Yuezhong and I co presented at the ACPA 22 annual conference back in March in St. Louis, and we figured why not to just bring it back to our channel to share it to our audiences. So before we get started, Yuezhong, do you want to briefly introduce yourself to audiences who might be hearing about you for the first time?

Yuezhong Zheng  00:45

Sure. Hi, everyone. Thank you, Xiao Yun for inviting me back to the podcast. I’m super excited. So a little bit about myself. I’m currently working as a program manager for economics Graduate Programs at the University of San Francisco. So I joined this position back in October of last year. So I am still new to the role. But my main responsibilities include, leading the effort of recruitment admission for two of the STEM graduate programs in economics at USF, and also creating marketing campaigns, connecting with prospective students and also supporting current students who are in the program. Yeah, so I’m very happy to be on the show again.

Xiao Yun Sim  01:32

Yeah, definitely. Welcome back, Yuezhong. And the reason why we kind of want to talk about this topic here today, it’s because when we were at the conference, we actually met a couple international graduate students in the higher ed program, and we figured that maybe our audiences who are visa-holding professionals in higher education will benefit from us talking about navigating job search and career development in their current roles right now. So before we jump right into our conversation here today, I just want to provide some fast facts in terms of what are the different types of work authorizations available for F1 visa holders. So typically, international students are here in the United States on an F1 student visa or J1 visa as well. Briefly going on the overview of what authorizations we kind of separate it into three different chunks up. There is one called Curricular Practical Training probably will have known as CPT. Folks are international students who are interested in pursuing an internship during their career they will utilize CPT. The other authorization available for international students are optional practical training as soon as OPT. So those are commonly used for post graduation so after an international student graduates they would utilize OPT. And lastly, it’s a OPT STEM extension. So if a student completes that degree in a STEM field, they are eligible for a OPT STEM extension. Those three different types of work authorizations are pertaining to F1 visa holders. However, now I want to talk about what work sponsorship is. So a lot of international students or higher ed professionals confused between work authorization and work sponsorship. For Work sponsorship, it means it’s an H1-B work visa, and for H1-B visa as a F1 or J1 visa holder, they may be eligible for continued employment on H1 B status. And within H1 B visa, there are also cap-exempt versus non- cap exempt or more commonly known that lottery to obtain an h1 B visa. Or you can go through the non lottery route where if your employer is a nonprofit organization or higher education institution. So yeah, that’s kind of the differentiation of work authorization versus work sponsorship and Yuezhongm, do you want to share a little about job classifications or Visa sponsorship policies? 

Yuezhong Zheng  04:01

Yeah, sure. Um, I mean, as you mentioned before, I’m definitely seeing more and more higher ed professionals who are international like us. And I’m also seeing more and more institutions and universities that are more willing to sponsor than I feel like when we first started job searching, which is very promising. Yeah. So in terms of job classifications, so when a employee is being sponsored by their employer for H1-B visa, let’s say within higher education, even though we’re all working within higher education, we’re still kind of situated within different departments, right? Because you work within you know, Career Services, versus me, I am working for a graduate programs, so it’s kind of on the academic side, and each of our job responsibilities are also different. So that’s why when we’re being sponsored on a H1-B visa, there are different kind of potential job categories that your employer might file you under. So for example, when I was in my position at Arizona State University, they filed me under one category. And then versus from my current position, the job classification is a little bit different. So with each job classification and category that comes with different prevailing wage for your area, as well. So it really just depends on where you are, what type of work you’re doing. And you might get a different ranges of prevailing wage. So you need to take that into consideration when you are being sponsored for H1-B role, but that’s usually kind of right. Like that’s the the job of the attorney that your employer is working with, like, they help you determine which job category fits your position the best. But I think if you are, let’s say, like, Look looking for a new position, or, you know, are going through an interview process, it’s something that you can look up online, I can’t remember what the name of the the database is, but we can mention that in the end, or in the in the Episode Notes for you to, to look into. So that’s something you can, you know, search for yourself as well, to see if the salary range that you’re being offered kind of fits within the or above the the prevailing wage for your job category potentially. And in terms of sponsorship policies, I feel like it’s based on my personal experience, it just really depends on like, which department in which school you’re interviewing with, right? Like, I’ve definitely ran into a lot of positions where they’re just not willing to sponsor. And sometimes it’s really up to the discretion of the decision maker, well, sometimes you’re the hiring manager can make that decision. Sometimes, they’ll have to make a request to the HR or sometimes to the department head. It just really depends. So it’s a little bit tricky, I think, to say like, what type of position can sponsor and what type of position cannot. But as I mentioned, like, we are seeing more and more positions in schools and departments that are willing to at least consider that option for international higher ed professionals

Xiao Yun Sim  07:21

Yeah, for sure. I definitely agree with when we were going through the process, there weren’t any, I would say transparency in terms of visa sponsorship policies, and I’ve seen with, I would say the pandemic itself just shifted the hiring market, the job market so much that we are seeing more institutions more willing to have the conversation of sponsorship if that candidate successfully goes into the final round. And I do think that in our session here today, we are covering a lot of things that are through our personal experiences navigating job search. So I would definitely encourage folks, if you are supporting any of these holding professionals in your area in your department to have those conversations with them kind of learn about their experiences, because what we share here today are based on our experience may be that visa holding professional in your department might be going through a different process. 

Yuezhong Zheng  08:20

Yeah, for sure. 

Xiao Yun Sim  08:22

So with that being said, I do want to talk a little about what are some of the challenges that as a visa holding professional or in this case as an international student would face because I think that the challenges that we are going to talk about is really transferable in terms of if you are going into higher ed or if you’re interested in going into like for profit industries. So I will say like the one of the challenges that I definitely observed a lot is that limited time like to obtain job post graduation, once we graduate, we only have about I think 60 days if I’m not mistaken. Yuezhong, correct me if I’m wrong, like 60 days to obtain a job before you need to leave the country?

Yuezhong Zheng  09:04

Yeah, I think that’s the case. Yeah, you can apply for your OPT up to 90 days before your graduation but your OPT start date, the EAD card for your OPT start date should be within 60 days of your graduation or degree completion day. Yeah.

Xiao Yun Sim  09:26

And also like the second challenge as I personally experiences that thinking about when is the best time to disclose your visa status because I’ve experienced of like okay, if I mentioned that I am going to be on OPT and require future sponsorship, that hindered my job search process. I didn’t even get to advance into the next round to really interview and showcase my knowledge and skill sets. So this is also a challenge that as Visa holding professionals or international students would always face and they need to make the decision of when is the best time to disclose visa status as well as I’ve seen a lot of job applications right now do ask the question along the lines of like, would you require a sponsorship now or in the near future? So I do think that that question helps in terms of shaping, when is the best time to disclose the visa status? And Yuezhong, do you have any other challenges that you have observed to the past? 

Yuezhong Zheng  10:24

Yeah, I will say, from what I’ve learned, right, like, through talking to other people and networking, I do feel like as a visa holding professional, right, like on H1-B, sometimes it’s a little bit more difficult to advance to the next role within your office or either outside of your current institution, because when you are switching jobs, or even applying for a internal position within your current institution, whenever there is a significant change to your job title or job responsibility, you’re always required to file or your manager, your employer is always required to file either a new petition or a H1-B amendment to correctly reflect what you will be doing next in your in your new role. So because of that, you know, quote, unquote, straight of barrier, it’s very possible that, you know, you could be passed on for a promotion, because not employers might feel like it’s a little bit complicated to promote you, versus just to promote a domestic or U.S. citizen, you know, it’s just a salary increase or title change. But for us, it’s a little bit more complicated, because there are immigration related steps that they’ll have to take. And, you know, like H1-B status itself is limited, because it is called a temporary work authorization. So, if you’re not changing into a new status, within your six years of H1-B, you know, you’ll have to leave the country or, you know, try to find what’s next for you outside the U.S., we look into another status. And that’s not really possible for a lot of us. So I will say, it is a little bit limited in that sense, is that you have to kind of figure out what to do or what to ask for employer before your six years of H1-B status expires. And it needs to be refiled every every three years as well. So there’s that renewal process that you have to go through with your employer too

Xiao Yun Sim  12:36

And I would encourage for like hiring managers or you know, people who are in roles that supervise visa holding professionals to learn more about the visa process for them as well as because they might not know a lot about it as well. So connecting with maybe the institutions, international students and scholars office to learn about the process together might really help have the conversation, start the conversation early. And I know that like we talked about challenges, I want to also provide the positive aspects of being a visa holding professional looking for a job in higher education. So I know that there are for me, I feel that like with the change right now, with the job market in higher education, a lot of institutions are more receptive to really consider sponsoring a foreign born visa holding individual. And that really, I think it’s a good perspective in terms of seeing how higher education has evolved, and more and more international students are going into higher education programs and thinking about what are some of the next steps or what are some of the departments or areas that they are looking into obtaining a full time job in the future. As far as I feel that like, of course, I’m more and more familiar with the process of work authorization options for visa holder individuals. So I know when I was job searching, I had to do a lot of the education piece like telling and telling employers about, okay, this is my status. This is how it works. You know, you need to do XYZ steps. However, I feel that employers right now are more keen to take the initiative and be proactive to learn about the process prior to maybe interviewing a visa holding professional. So I do think that this is one of the highlights of opportunities that I would say for us.

Yuezhong Zheng  14:20

Yeah, for sure. Like, as you mentioned, more and more employers are more receptive to considering. And I will say from my experience, my current role within the College of Arts and Sciences within University of San Francisco, it is a academic department. And so my supervisor, the Associate Dean has had a lot of experience providing sponsorship for faculty members in the past or for research position roles. So when I brought up the need for a H1-B sponsorship, it is not something that is totally new to them, like it isn’t new to them, to sponsor someone who’s in a staff administrative role. but it is something that they have gone through a lot of the times because of where we’re, you know, situated. And they already have that connection with a law firm and an attorney. So it’s not a brand new process for them to start my petition. And I will say, because of that, a lot of the academic departments are a little bit more receptive and come familiar with the process comparing to I will say, you know, a student affairs office, my previous position within the International Students and Scholars Center at ASU, because it’s kind of what they do at ASU, they’re also familiar with a process. So I would say, there are offices and departments, from my personal experience that might be a little bit more familiar with the process than others. One of the other opportunities we mentioned earlier, is that if you are being sponsored on a H1-B visa, for a higher education role, don’t necessarily need to go through the lottery process, which only happens once a year, at the end of March, early April, your employer can initiate the process anytime during the year. So there’s that flexibility there. And as long as your petition, you know, fits all the criteria, it’s pretty, I will not say guarantee, but it’s it’s pretty possible that your case will be approved.

Xiao Yun Sim  16:26

And I also do want to mention to folks who are listening here today, because Yuezhong mention of like working with law firm attorneys, some of the institutions do have in house counsel that that you should probably doesn’t need to outsource like a law firm or attorney to file the petition for you. So there would be that distinction. But it’s ultimately depending on what the institution’s direction would be. So we talked about like challenges and opportunities, I want to focus now more on like navigating the job search process. And I think that like when we are recording here, right now in March, a lot of folks who might be graduating in May or looking for a career switch. This is kind of like the prime time for job search. Because higher education institutions probably wants to recruit someone hire someone has someone on board during the summertime prior to the new academic year to begin in August. But before we jump right into the nitty gritty as well, like job search process, we mentioned earlier about, you know, some of the challenges for us that we face is that the limited timeline to obtain a job. So I want to introduce this term of parallel planning to folks here, you’re probably going to ask like what is parallel planning? I will say parallel planning is kind of a way of proactively identifying options available for for an individual in the US and outside of the US. And parallel planning is a term that is more commonly used in academic advising realm where academic advisors probably will work with a student about exploring the different majors that are available. However, in this context of job searching, I want to encourage folks to think about how can they parallel plan to identify options available for them in the United States, and also outside of the United States before they pursue or start the job search process. And the reason behind parallel planning is that you as an individual, you’re able to, you know, manage your expectations and be able to investigate and assess all the options that are available for you. So when I graduated back in May 2021, I actually did a parallel planning job search process as well. So I was like investigating and assessing what my degree what I learned in United States is transferable to other realms or outside of United States opportunity. And also thinking about when is the best time to determine how and when you will implement the alternative and also utilizing that time frame to maximize your networks and referrals. So, for me my personal experience, when I started job search process, I started like two semesters before I actually graduated. And I kind of just like peruse, what are the job opportunities that are out there and taking a look at what are some of the job descriptions that I’m lacking in my current role that I can use the remainder of my second year in grad school to hone on those skills. Also, in the same time, because of when you are in the job search process, you’re probably still in tune of like, I need to go through interviews I need to get to at least I you know stage two states, three of interviews. However, when you mentioned that you need visa or sponsorship, they probably will be like, sorry, we can sponsor you anymore. And then you need to start all over again for a job search. So thinking about during that time, how can I also explore options outside of United States? So what are some of the skill sets that are transferable outside? You can take a look at, for me, I took a look at higher education opportunities outside of United States, in China or maybe looking at at UAE. So there are actually a lot of opportunities outside of United States for folks who are interested to parallel plan and maybe go back to their home country or go to a different country to start your career in higher education. I know I mentioned like, these are some of the things that you could do to manage your expectation, investigate and assess your options. But I will say that outcome of parallel planning is actually really good. Because you are, for me, I was able to develop in a way coping mechanisms of like, okay, if I get a rejection letter, it’s okay, I know that I can move on to the next role. And being able to define and prioritize my career goals, like knowing of like, what are some of the transferable skills? What are some of the functional areas that I’m interested in going into, and being able to reframe the transition and knowing that if I’m almost towards graduation, I don’t have a job offer yet, or I haven’t been interviewing and positions in the United States of like, okay, maybe this is the time that I focus my energy and effort in a job search outside of U.S. So these are just some of the things that I would encourage folks to think about if they do want to consider parallel planning, what is the best time to implement the alternative? And also, in our transcript, I will be linking a worksheet for you that talks about parallel planning, and what are some of the questions that you can ask yourself throughout the process to help you navigate through that? Yuezhong, do you have anything else to add on like parallel planning? Have you yourself, done some parallel planning when you were job searching after you graduated?

Yuezhong Zheng  21:47

Yeah, I think that’s a really like, great approach. I’m sure a lot of us have been doing that without knowing like what the term is actually called. So I’m really happy to learn like there’s actually like the whole a whole theory behind why you have to do parallel planning. I do think like, now thinking back to my job search process, when I was just finishing up my graduate program, I did set my EAD start time a little bit earlier, because I was very confident, a first very naive, I thought I was going to be able to start a role pretty soon. So I set my EAD start time, some were around early or mid June, and I was graduating at the end of April. And it turned out that, you know, I wasn’t able to start a position around the timeframe. So what I was doing at the time is I was having conversations with my, my graduate assistantship office, because I was a, I was working for a living learning community on campus at Michigan at the time. And they were looking for someone who could maybe stay around the summer to help organize events for students and alumni who are in their area and help them prepare for the fall semester as well. So then I offered, you know, to help out over the summer, at a part time capacity. So then it helped stop the clock of my OPT, because you know, I do have to be employed within 90 days once my OPT started. So then yeah, I was able to keep the, the clock from ticking and be able to search for new positions while being employed part time. And I feel like that gives me a little bit more composure when I went into interviews, because, you know, like, Yes, I was on a timeline, but it’s not as desperate as before. So I will say that’s when I utilize the parallel planning process. And since you mentioned earlier, right about when do you bring up the conversation, I do want to talk a little bit more about that, like, when you were interviewing. First, like right after your grad school? What was your approach? Like? Do you usually bring up the visa conversation before you know your first round over email? Or do you wait until the end? Yeah, I’m curious to learn.

Xiao Yun Sim  24:20

Thank you for the question, Yuezhong and I think that like, you probably hear both ends of like folks who want to tell employers in the immediate round of like, first round phone screening or email section of like, hey, I need to be on sponsorship, or you can also hear folks so I’m just gonna wait till I have a final offer or during the final round of interview to mention, I need sponsorship. So my approach when I was job searching, I kind of tested out both ways to see which one I prefered more. I ended up focusing more on let me go through the phone screening so kind of the initial 30 minute interview to mention that I require a sponsorship. Because during that time, I was already interviewing so much that I felt that if I were to only mention my sponsorship in the final round, I have put in so much effort to prepare for the interviews and the interviews that I had for final rounds had me prepare presentations and all those things that I felt that I was already putting so much effort till the final round. And then when I disclosed my visa status, they said that I’m sorry, we are not able to sponsor. So during that time, I had mixed feelings of like, it’s great, I have so much interview experience. However, when I say that any sponsorship boom, they say no. So I would say about maybe four or five interviews down the road, I just decided, you know, what, I’m just gonna tell employers during the phone screening, or the initial first interview to mention that, hey, I would require a sponsorship after a year, and then we’ll just see how it goes. And I felt that with that I had a transparency conversation with the employers and they are understanding of my background and my situation that if they were to move me into the second round interview, I know that there is a possibility that I could be sponsored, if I were hired in that role. As well as even though if they said that I’m sorry, I’m no longer able to move you forward to the next round, I was able to network and establish that relationship with that recruiter or hiring manager already that it served as a taking a look at the long term prospect of like, this is a professional network that you have obtained, maybe you could connect them with LinkedIn, and maybe your pathways would cross in the future for, you know, conference or presenting. So I kind of went into the mindset of like, I would let the employer know, during the first round phone screening saying that, hey, I would require a sponsorship. So that’s kind of my story. How about you, Yuezhong? 

Yuezhong Zheng  26:57

Yeah, I think my approach was pretty similar to yours towards the the later stage of my job search process, because I would, I would say, at the beginning, I was taking my time to interview as far as I can, to really showcase my qualifications, and to show them who I am as a qualified higher education professional versus someone who really, you know, just needs the visa for that position. And I will say it worked out, at least during the early stage of my job search, when I still had the time, you know, before I graduated, I think maybe in the spring semester, before my graduation, I was, you know, trying my best to, to advnace to the later stage of the interview, just to see how far I could get. But then I feel like when I was almost running out of time in that summer, I have to take a step back and have that more honest conversation early on in the process, because I just, you know, first, first of all, I was pretty exhausted from doing all the interviews, and, you know, a lot of times hearing back from them that, you know, they thought I was a good candidate, but they weren’t able to sponsor. So I was also kind of saving, saving my energy for more serious employers as well. So I would say it really just depends on, you know, for those who are job searching, or trying to make a career switch within higher education, it just really depends on which stage you’re at right now. And what kind of option makes the most sense for you, I feel like everyone is a little bit different, and everyone has different comfort level. So I will say there are definitely pros and cons to to each each approach.

Xiao Yun Sim  28:51

But I would say that for audiences here today, key takeaway of both of us sharing our story in terms of having the visa conversation is that you need to be specific about the immediate timelines and future commitments, like when you have the visa conversation, you need to let them know that because of my major, I only have one year OPT. And this is when I need to be on H1-B, because if you do miss that timeline, or maybe be out of status, it’s just you don’t want to risk that being out of status on while working in United States. And really, there are resources out there, there are websites that are out there that can help you navigate through that process about learning about H1-B as well as also if you’re interested to take a look at what institutions have sponsored historically in the past for H1-B visa, there are platforms and websites and resources that is out there for you to navigate through that.

Yuezhong Zheng  29:47

Yeah, I would say just to add to what you just mentioned, networking is a big part of that too, right like network and make connections with people who are within the institutions that are hiring. And that way you could learn insights from them about the quote unquote, you know, sponsorship willingness, like if they’ve seen their colleagues or people that they know that have been sponsored, then that’s something that they could share with you. And that’s not something that your hiring manager will necessarily know about or are willing to share with you.

Xiao Yun Sim  30:23

So yeah, I know that, Yuezhong, you mentioned about, you know, the importance of learning about the sponsorship willingness. So I want to kind of like transition a little to talk about career advancement related conversation. So I know that you mentioned earlier in your introduction, you said that, oh, I recently started a new position. So do you want to share a little about having the conversation of a career advancement or advocating for yourself about that? 

Yuezhong Zheng  30:47

Yeah, sure. We talked earlier right about, it might be more difficult for those of us who are on H1-B status to change a position because your new employer will need to basically file a petition for you a new a brand new H1-B petition for you, even though a lot of the times it’s called a H1-B transferring. But really, it’s a brand new, totally different H1-B petition. The only advantage of that kind of quote unquote H1-B transferring is that you don’t have to wait until your new petition is processed to start your new position. You know, legally speaking, you can start your new job as soon as your new petition has been received by USCIS. But my personal preference is always kind of on the safer side, like I wanted my new petition to go through before I start, so that I know that you know, it’s a guaranteed filing, I will say in terms of career advancement, it is not impossible, right? It is more difficult, more barriers to go through for us. But it is not impossible. If you put in work to network, look for new positions and kind of really evaluate where you want to go next. And I will say, just want to offer a few tips for those who are either job searching, or are looking for a career switch within higher ed if you’re still on H1-B visa, always track your accomplishments. Even if you’re just staying in your current role or trying to find an internal promotion within your institution. It’s very important to track your accomplishments and be able to talk about those in your cover letter resume and your interviews. So even if you are just bringing up a potential career advancement conversation with your current hiring manager, it’s still very effective to remind them and and show them what are some of the the highlights that you have accomplished in your current role, and to convince them that why you’re ready for the next one or more senior role within the office. And I will say career advancements, it’s not just, you know, boom, one day, it just happens for you. It’s a series of conversations, sometimes, you know, over several weeks or several months, for that to happen. And especially right where within higher ed there always a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of hurdles that even our hiring manager has to go through, even if they want that career change for you. So I would definitely say, if you feel like you’re ready for that next role, start to bring up that conversation during your weekly one on ones or monthly one on ones with your supervisor, so that they know that oh, you know, you’re thinking about your next position. You want to advance, you want more leadership responsibilities. And sometimes it could even help you get there by assigning you with more leadership positions so that by the time comes, you have those responsibilities already under your belt. So that way it makes easier for your supervisor, to advocate on behalf of you in front of the leadership. Anything you want to add Xiao Yun based on your experience?

Xiao Yun Sim  34:07

Yeah, I just graduated, I’ve only less than a year in my position. And I’ve been tracking my accomplishments and having those conversations with my supervisor during my check ins with them. As far as I taking a look at maybe in your institution you have in the beginning of each semester, each academic year, you need to set goals for yourself and have those conversations of performance evaluations. Maybe those are great timing to talk about career advancements or what Yuezhong to mention, take additional responsibilities under your belt and when is the time to you know, talk about career advancement. You can then share that okay, I’ve already done XYZ these are the things that I’ve done and let’s have the conversation of career advancement. So planting the seed early and also, I would say seizing the right moment think about what Yuezhong mentioned after three years of H1-B need to happen. renewal or maybe during the time of your renewal is when you have the conversation of let’s reevaluate my role. What are some of the things that I could take more on? Or what can I have the career advancement conversation during that, because when they renew your H1-B, they would submit additional paperwork. So maybe during that time is when you can change your career title or job descriptions when you’re filing through that?

Yuezhong Zheng  35:26

Yeah, absolutely. And I think visa renewal is a really great time for a lot of us. Because, you know, as we progress in our current role, lot of the times we automatically add a lot of, you know, new responsibilities or new programs into our current position without necessarily changing the nature or the the core responsibility of our position under the eyes of USCIS, you know, little changes, don’t really make a difference. But when you have a lot of those, you know, newly added responsibility over a period of three years, then maybe that might have already caused a you know, quote, unquote, material change to your position. So maybe, you know, even asking for a promotion or career advancement within your current office, is just really to correctly reflect what you have already been doing, you know, over the past couple of years, and use your visa renewal as the perfect time to to actually reflect that for your new role.

Xiao Yun Sim  36:38

Yeah, thank you for sharing that piece, Yuezhong. And I know, early in our conversation, we talked about how can a visa holding professional initiate those conversations help progress through along that process? I want to switch gears to also talk about if you are a supervisor or manager, supervising international or Visa holding employees, how can you also play a role or be an advocate for that? So Yuezhong, do you have any insights that you want to share or advice that you would like to share for hiring managers or supervisors?

Yuezhong Zheng  37:12

Yeah, I think it’s actually the perfect timing to talk about this. Because, as a lot of us have seen, like, the landscape of higher education, and student affairs employment has changed a lot over the last couple years because of COVID. And the great resignation not only affected, you know, the industry, the corporate world, but it also heavily affected Higher Education and Student Affairs employees. And I think more than ever higher education institutions have started to really think about, you know, in a way, being forced to reflect on what they can, what can they do to retain their employees, you know, under the current climate, when a lot of folks are really seeking a change to either leave higher education or you know, switching to a role that is more accommodating, more, a little bit more flexible in terms of work schedule, at work location. And so for employers and hiring managers, like if you have someone who is currently a H1-B be status within your institution or your office, don’t take them for granted, even though you might feel like they are quote, unquote, on visa like, within your office, it doesn’t really, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to leave. As I mentioned earlier, it is more difficult, but it’s not impossible for us to switch jobs. And I’ve seen a lot of peers that we know have successfully transitioned to another institution and easily get sponsored on another H1-B visa. So I will say if you are in such position, being able to include let’s say, a visa conversation on a regular basis, in your one on one with your supervisee it does make them feel included, and more listened to because that is something that we constantly think about right, like on our daily lives, like it is something that is very, very important for us in terms of whether we can stay in the US or leave. And I’ll say there are other strategies, for example, you know, like educate yourself with H1-B process. What does it take to sponsor an employee within your institution? How much does it cost? A lot of times institutions are surprised to learn that it doesn’t really cost that much to sponsor a H1-B employee within your institution and it costs them more money right like to keep that position open or it cost them more money to lose someone for that role. So you know, compare the the pros and cons and sometimes you may realize It is very valuable for your department to keep an H1-B the employee within your office. And you know, pay attention to their career advancements and professional experiences, even though it might be an actual step for you to promote them to a more leadership role, a more senior position, you should still, you know, take that into consideration and you still consider them based on their skill sets and qualifications versus just looking at what is required of you your office financially right to put them in a more leadership position.

Xiao Yun Sim  40:39

Yeah, to add on to that we talked about familiarizing yourself with the H1-B process or the different kinds of work sponsorship or work authorizations available. Oftentimes, if you do a quick Google search about H1-B process, the websites that will be linked out will be more targeted and focused on for profit companies or industries. So I think that as a supervisor or hiring manager, the easiest way for you to learn about the H1-B process specifically for higher education, folks, is that to just reach out to your international students and scholars office, or maybe on the international students and scholars office website has something outlined about H1-B procedures. I’m currently going through H1-B phase, how my employer learned about how to support visa holding individuals or learn about the H1-B process for higher education setting was through the website. So I do think that if you are a hiring manager or supervisor, ISS in house resources there for you. That is just a piece that I would like to share. So Yuezhong, do you have any closing remarks before we jump into wrapping up the conversation,

Yuezhong Zheng  41:53

I will say I’m I’m feeling more and more positive for a lot of the younger students or professionals who are like us, who are looking for positions and new positions right out of grad school or are making trying to make a career change, I will say take advantage of the current landscape, right, a lot of people are leaving and moving and changing positions, there are a lot of roles that are open. And there are a lot more employers that are willing to consider sponsorship as an option for their international applicants. It is definitely more and more common compared to when I was first job searching right out of grad school in 2019. So I’m very positive that I think the field is changing. And and hopefully it’s changing for the better for for those of us right, like on a visa status.

Xiao Yun Sim  42:51

And I want to wrap up the conversation by just throwing up questions for y’all to consider. So if you are an international graduate student, or you’re currently a visa holding employee working in higher education, think about what do you need from your supervisors or hiring manager to be successful in your role? Or how can you support your colleagues who are visa holding professionals in this process? Does this mean that you can network with folks who are visa holding professionals in the realm of higher education? Or thinking about what are some of the ways that could help you in the process of career advancement or having those visa conversations, tap into your network tap into your circle. And if you are a hiring manager or a supervisor, what are you doing or what have you done to support your international visa holding employees professional growth, as well as what are you or the institution or the department is doing or have done to retain employees? Because I think that these two questions will help you frame how you would have those conversations with your employees or thinking about how can you advocate for that visa holding professional population who will be interested in coming into higher education and continue the advancement of supporting students success. Once again, thank you all for tuning in to our episode on navigating job search and career advancement as a visa holding professional in higher education. I would encourage you all to reach out to our commission because within our commission we have a lot of support and individuals who are currently working in the United States in higher education as Visa holding professionals as well as expats who are actually working outside of United States who are also within higher education realms. I would definitely encourage you to check out our link tree for our resources. Thank you.

Yuezhong Zheng  44:53

Thank you

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