Studying in America and Canada

2.2.3 Choices after graduation from America and Canada

One obvious choice is to pursue further studies, unless you are graduating from a terminal (doctoral) degree. Even with a terminal degree, there may be choices for further education. The other obvious choice for you is employment. Note that as an international student, you are not legally authorized to take up employment in America or Canada outside of the constraints of your visa status. You can always return to India for employment. However, should to want to pursue employment in America or Canada upon graduation, you should understand that the rules in America are slightly different than the rules in Canada.

The first difference is what is called a training visa for international students in America. Canada has no such provision. The training visa in America allows an international student to undertake full-time employment for up to 12 months. Since an international student is required by law to maintain a full-time student status during studies that is, must take at least a minimum required course load - he or she can use this visa for either summer employment or for employment after graduation. Most international students use this visa after graduation. Should you choose to do this, you will be effectively authorized to stay in America for employment for up to one year beyond graduation.

Another difference is in obtaining the permanent residency after graduation. This is a bit more challenging in Canada. Jobs in Canada are a bit more difficult to obtain for international students. With only one-tenth the population of America, employment opportunities in Canada are limited and less diverse. Another challenge is that you must find a job offer from an employer who is willing to sponsor you for a work permit or immigration. Given the amount of effort and legal work involved, this employer must be of fair size. With the size of Canadian population and its economy, such employers are far fewer in number than they are in America. If you can overcome these hurdles, the process of obtaining proper legal documents in Canada is relatively short. You must also keep in mind that since Canada does not have the training visa provision, you would be required to leave the country soon after graduation. Thus, you may not have much time to search for a job with an employer who is willing to sponsor you for a work permit or immigration.

It is easier to find employers in America, who would meet your need to stay in America, should you choose to do so. America has a larger number of employers who are knowledgeable about the situation, and have experience and resources to get you the temporary worker visa, called H1-B. Chances are that your first employer, for whom you would work on the training visa, will sponsor you for the H1-B visa. The H1-B visa can then be converted to a Green Card, a permanent residency status. It is a time-consuming and at times frustrating process, but it can be done.

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