What happens to international students?


Currently an analyst with approx 6 months left on OPT. What happens to international students who don't get the h1-b visa? Are firms generally good with transferring people to other offices (assuming it's an EB/BB)?

Also interested to hear if internationals in the US have been able to exit into PE/HF roles? Haven't seen this at my EB even though most Americans exit. Any insights would be much appreciated.

Comments (66)

Apr 28, 2020 - 2:19pm

1) What is the overall demand for resources in difficult times? Probably lower, regardless of visa status. IBD is like any other business, if demand for deals drops, so does demand for staff. But this can also be an opportunity for people to pivot towards turn-around/restructuring, LBO/distressed assets and credit facilities. Consider how you can benefit the market in the best way.

2) IF there is demand, the immediate pool will most likely be filled with local staff or staff that does not require expensive paperwork. In times of crisis there tends to be an ethos to stick with your own to help rebuild the nation. Bringing additional people into the workforce who eventually also require a green card sponsorship may not fit the attitude.

3) Risk for government intervention
As already seen in the past, the administration needs to showcase it is looking after their own. This situation is their chance to limit foreign employees in gaining certain visa types and/or immigration benefits.
It is an election year, after all.

Having said all of these things, WSO is a good resource to figure out which employers still want H1b employees.

Regarding exits:
Roles that require significant soft skills and advanced linguistic abilities may not be great for (recent) immigrants. Unless you are from the UK (or comparable nation with English as their first language), English may not be a graduates first language.
All of our PE roles are fitted with native speakers in the relevant regions (this does not mean you can not make it).

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Gen
Apr 28, 2020 - 3:23pm

Internationals are fucked in this environment (there's currently 3~4 major circumstances that all concurrently work against internationals)

Apr 28, 2020 - 3:30pm

If the RAISE act goes through most immigrants will be left in the dark.
And in the current climate there is a good chance it will pass.

I wouldn't want to be international at the moment, it looks really, really bad. Imagine spending all that money and 1) you end up with an online degree 2) no networking 3) no internship 4) you have to go back to India/China/LatAm/etc

And you haven't done anything wrong and don't even deserve this.

What an epic fail.

Apr 28, 2020 - 5:16pm

True. but the vast majority of immigration currently to the US is based on family preference or family sponsorship. and many (if not most?) are low skilled.
The RAISE act will cut the number of immigrants to the US in half or more. Not increase it.

Think about how many immigrants bring their family members to the US. It is by far the largest amount of people who otherwise would never be able to live in the US.

So, in the future, an immigrant may be able to live and work in the US (if skilled/young/speaks English/etc), but outside of his arranged marriage almost nobody else in his family can move to the US. The immediate family members will also count against the overall annual quota.
The assumption is that other visas will be replaced by this program, not enhanced.

  • Intern in IB - Ind
Apr 28, 2020 - 4:13pm

plus international students tend to work harder at school..... its a BS system in the 'land of opportunity'

oh well... luckily a lot of the opportunities now exist in Asia and not the US, so moving back after OPT has run out may not be the worst thing

Apr 28, 2020 - 4:24pm

Employers might hire candidates because they are legally allowed to work in a location. Not because of their race.

Even if they like an international resume, chances of obtaining a H1b (or similar) are low and that is not their fault either.

If you look at the pro-immigration lobby units, they have some big names in there who want more qualified candidates coming into the country. It just isn't that easy.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Apr 29, 2020 - 2:03pm

are people with 2020SA offers nervous/thinking about FT recruiting?

I have a MM 2020 SA but really wanted to recruit for FT, currently am deciding if its worth it to just push graduation by a semester to Dec 2021 and recruit for 2021SA instead

Most Helpful
Apr 29, 2020 - 11:23pm

International analyst at an EB here. Recruited and signed for a PE role in 2021 the past year.

For international analysts that don't get the H1-B visa, EB's/BB's tend to be pretty good with transferring people to other offices (would recommend reaching out to whoever in HR at your EB handles visa processes etc. and inquiring about international mobility). I know a few BB's that often send internationals to the London or HK office if they don't receive the H1-B, and I've seen international analysts at my current EB transfer to overseas offices after their OPTs expired / they were unable to obtain a H1-B.

Recruiting for buyside was a bit of blackbox, since there are very few internationals on the buyside to speak with. I was really lucky to know one international alum from my school who jumped to buyside from banking, and they had a similar experience to what I'll echo below. Most internationals end up staying in banking or leaving for overseas offices due to visa issues.

I was very fortunate in that my EB was willing to sponsor my H1-B in my senior year, so I graduated early to have my degree in hand for the application (realized at the time that visa issues would be the biggest obstacle in staying in the US or buyside recruiting, so I touched base with HR shortly after signing my full-time offer). I was even more fortunate to have received it, and I intend on transferring to it before starting in PE.

In terms of the recruiting process, the majority of headhunters stressed that it is extremely difficult to recruit for PE on OPT. Further, they mentioned that there are some firms that flat-out don't consider internationals at all, even if they have the H1-B; however, I didn't find this to be the case for the shops I recruited at (UMM / MF). Not sure if this changes as you move to smaller shops (such as how in IB the only firms that take internationals are essentially some BB's / EB's and MM / smaller boutique shops tend not to), but I welcome and encourage any other internationals who have recruited to share their experiences so others can have more data points to draw from.

To international students in this thread recruiting for banking – it is certainly an uphill battle, but it's more than possible and you shouldn't feel discouraged by the sponsorship obstacles. Give it your best and try to reach out to any international alums from your school in banking who can help shed light on their experiences. If your alumni network is limited, try to cold-email bankers who might be international (e.g. overseas high school on their LinkedIn). I did this for FT recruiting and found internationals are usually very willing to help another international out! Most importantly, remember it is by no means the end of the world or your career if you don't land an IB offer…… There's a lot of luck inherent in banking / PE recruiting, and it's further exacerbated by being an international who has to navigate visa / sponsorship processes. I certainly wouldn't be in my current position had some things not aligned (e.g. receiving my H1-B so I could recruit) and owe a ton gratitude to the few internationals I spoke with who clarified things here and there.

Apr 30, 2020 - 1:18am

Thank you so much for your insight – one of the only actual pieces of advice for international analysts on this site. Sounds like recruiting for PE is pretty much impossible on OPT.

Definitely agree with internationals being very willing to help other internationals. I'm an incoming analyst at a BB; if any foreign kid has any questions I can help answer feel free to PM.

Oct 2, 2020 - 7:23pm

I'm majoring in Finance. I'm seeking M&A in Investment Banking. Since I'm an international student, I want to know what additional courses should I take to master topics I didn't opt for at school. I'm new to the WSO society, so I don't know if it's okay to ask you for a 10-minutes phone call or not. I just want to hear advice from international BB who've been to the same process I'm in now.

May 5, 2020 - 8:57am

It looks like CPT/OPT is on the radar to be canceled
forbes com /sites/stuartanderson/2020/05/04/next-trump-immigration-target-opt-for-international-students/

Looking bad for internationals!

May 5, 2020 - 9:22am

I don't believe you can change immigration rules for certain nationalities, that would be extremely difficult to market.
More likely the regulations will be for all students. there is no clear plan yet, I guess they will have some ideas around mandatory periods outside of the US or they may cancel opt/cpt altogether?

There is also the J1 visa that would work.

May 5, 2020 - 1:52pm

There is no clear indication yet, but there will most likely be some form of announcement.
When they announced the latest 60 day suspension, they also said to take a good look into non-immigrant visa types. This is happening now.

If they actually decide to kill off OPT/H1b/CPT or whatever, then you may still see a job offer but you would not be able to work or live legally (unless your employer, family, spouse or similar files for a different /new visa).

May 5, 2020 - 2:00pm

We have to wait and see!
Maybe it was an off-hand comment to retaliate against China. Maybe they really are looking into it.

I don't see a problem with CPT, but OPT was never a "proper visa" anyway. Just an opportunity for intl students to get some experience abroad. That's it.

H1b was never fair for most internationals - wipro, infosys, TCS et al file multiple applications for the same devs and get the biggest chunks. I don't see how intl. finance people would fare well in that lottery.

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Growth
May 5, 2020 - 2:05pm

On OPT currently. Trump def knows that killing OPT will significantly damage the education sector (colleges) that will lose a major chunk of revenue and will certainly lose their appeal.

Jun 3, 2020 - 11:14am

The entire college structure will change. It will make almost no sense for international students to study in the US. Colleges then won't be able to promote diversity and inclusion as a selling point to the same extent. This will further affect firms. Some large companies already made clowns of themselves by highlighting their commitment to diversity and inclusion when they don't sponsor work visas.

May 5, 2020 - 2:13pm

Aren't colleges already among the biggest losers due to covid19? With the job market in tatters, which international student would now pay that amount of money and then risk being unemployed (not all will be unemployed, but a lot of them will end up going back home).

Even if you are not international - who will pony up this amount of cash unless they have some form of guarantee there will be a job waiting somewhere?

May 6, 2020 - 2:16am

Search for H1B Sponsors or Employer that meet your criteria.
Apply for jobs at these companies that can sponsor you work visa.
Work with employer and have your H1B petition filed.
The filing:
Step 1. Get a digital photograph
Fill US visa application form
Step 2. Complete H1B visa application form DS160
H1B Visa Application Fee
Step 3. Pay the H1B visa application fee
Visa Interview Appointment
Step 4. Take appointment for visa interview
Visa Interview
Step 5. US Visa Fingerprinting at Visa Application Center (VAC)
Visa Interview
Step 6. Go for visa interview at designated US consulate

$300 Base Filing Fee
$750 ACWIA fee (for employers with 1-25 full-time employees)
$1,500 ACWIA fee (for employers with 26+ full-time employees)
$500 Fraud prevention and detection fee
$1,225 optional premium processing fee (currently discontinued?)

There will be a lottery during your adjudication phase where applicants will be "drawn".
you have two shots if you have OPT and have an employer who will do this.

1) unlikely to find employers in hard economic times (but possible!)
2) good chance something might happen to OPT/CPT/H1b/ else.

May 6, 2020 - 3:13am

is that the process after you're selected in the lottery? should definitely have your company's lawyers do most of this stuff.

OP, since H1-B filings changed this year, firms have been a lot more willing to let you play the lottery while you're still a senior (assuming you have a job lined up). reach out to HR or your company's lawyers if they have already been assigned to you and ask.

there's nothing you have to do on your end apart from filling out some forms the lawyers will send you – used to be you'd have to get a letter from your university certifying you're about to graduate, but this year that wasn't required.

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