PSW Visas for MBAs
The opportunity to gain international experience while studying on an MBA program is huge draw for both potential students, and their eventual employers. As a result, many MBA applicants apply to programs based outside of their home country, with many holding aspirations to work there come graduation. To do so, research into potential post-study work (PSW) visas for MBAs is essential.
For MBA students and applicants who plan to work in a country they already have legal residency status in, the post-MBA job search can be relatively straightforward. But for those who wish to work in a country they are yet to gain residency for - perhaps the country they are studying their MBA program in – the process can be a little more complicated.
The good news however, is that the high-value skill-set taught on an MBA program makes graduates a great deal more attractive to employers and governments alike and as a result, many countries make the process of gaining a post study work visa a great deal easier for MBAs than other graduates.
For most MBAs with European Union residency, the ability to live and work throughout the majority of the zone makes life incredibly simple when seeking employment within much of Europe. For those outside of the EU, usually the process of obtaining a PSW visa isn’t too complicated though.
“In the Netherlands, the process is really simple for MBA graduates,” explains Bart Scheenaard, marketing and admissions manager of MBA programs at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). “once they have graduated from our program, they can apply for a so called ‘one year search visa’ that will allow them to stay in the Netherlands for another year, Graduates applying for this visa can stay in the Netherlands whilst awaiting their visa.
“During this year, graduates can look for a job as a so-called ‘highly-sk8illed migrant’ but they are also allowed to look for a job as a regular ‘labour migrant’. Once they find an appropriate job he/she and their employer can apply for an adjustment to their residence permit for the ‘kennismigrant’ or ‘highly-skilled migrant’ scheme.”
However Scheenaard also points out that the visa rules may differ from migrants that are over 30 years old.
In Germany, the process is also reassuringly complication free, as Nick Barniville, Director of MBA Programs at ESMT explains. “Germany has one of the most favourable post-study visa policies of any global study destination.
“MBA graduates from outside the EU can extend their residence permit after graduation for up to 18 months while searching for a job. If the graduate secures a job with an annual salary of more than EUR €40,000 per annum, they are entitled to remain in Germany to work indefinitely. Even during the 18 month search phase, if the graduate secures a lower paying job, they are entitled to work up to 20 hours per week while continuing their search.”
In Spain, the time-given to find work is a little shorter, but given that many international MBA students find work well before graduation, that shouldn’t deter potential international applicants.
Allejandro Gasch, from the legal advisory office at IESE Business School notes that on completion of an MBA program, the graduate visa will extend for a further four months, allowing time to secure future employment in Spain. Once found, the employer is responsible for requesting ongoing work permits.
As with other European nations, EU residents are able to work in the country hassle free, without applying for work permits.
Recently, the issue of PSW visas for all types of international students who don’t hold EU residency has stirred debate in the UK. Government plans to tighten restrictions on PSW visas for foreign graduates in the country was met with strong opposition, particularly from business educators and associated bodies.
UK-based international MBA accredited boy, the Association of MBAs has been particularly prominent in convincing the UK government to reduce the restrictions for international MBA graduates in the UK, as the organisation explains.
“The Association of MBAs is actively lobbying the UK government on behalf of our accredited UK business schools in response to the government’s proposed changes to the Student Immigration System, including the end of the Post Study Work visa program, which allowed non-EU graduates of UK universities to reside and work in the UK for two years after completing their study.
The Tier 2 visa route is an employer-sponsored visa; graduates need to have a job offer and employers have to be registered in the scheme to be eligible. There are a number of other restrictions that make this a difficult route with a limited number of firms, but one that high quality MBAs may have an edge in obtaining given their qualification and experience.”
For entrepreneurially minded MBAs, there are further opportunities to work in the UK
“The tier 1 route is available for non-EU graduates who wish to stay in the UK for a limited period to establish their own company. A limited number of visas (1000) was initially made available, but as of March 2013, been increased to 2000, with 1000 specifically set aside for MBA graduates. A maximum of ten Tier 1 visas are available per registered institution.”
Moving outside of Europe, the only Asian country to make the top ten list of preferred MBA study destinations according to the QS Applicant Survey, Singapore proves a popular choice for international MBAs. Saima Siddiqui, head of career services at the National University of Singapore Business School explains that graduating students need to secure work in Singapore before applying for legal work rights.
“Work visas in Singapore are tied to employment. Your employer is the sponsor of your Employment Pass (EP), which is what allows you to work i Singapore. When you change jobs, your EP is tied to your new employer.
Graduates of the top universities in Singapore certainly appear to be viewed positively when being considered for Employment Passes.”
United States of America
No look into potential working destinations for MBAs would be complete without looking at the USA.
As the number one destination for 65% of MBA applicants according to the QS TopMBA.com Applicant Survey, the USA can afford to, and in many cases needs to be selective with whom it grants working visas to. In the case of MBA graduates, it’s less likely to result in the denial of a working visa, as studying a highly regarded MBA program in the US for two years shows both business acumen and a willingness to immerse oneself with US culture. However, as many would expect, it’s usually a lengthy process obtaining a legal right to work in the country come graduation.
“All students who come to study from outside the US are required to hold an F1 student visa, “ explains Nicole Hall, director of the Graduate Business Career Management Center at Wake Forest University School of Business. “If they desire to work in the US short-term, they can use their F1 status to apply for optional practical training (OPT) with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which permits them to work in the US for a period of up to 12 months following graduation.
If a graduate seeks to continue employment beyond the 12 months, they must identify an employer who is willing to provide a work visa, typically an H1B, to permit them to maintain a long-term employment. In order to sponsor, the employer must follow a few steps: 1) Seek prevailing wage information to ensure a market appropriate wage, 20 Submit the position and associated wage to the US Department of Labor for approval, and 3) Prepare and submit the H petition to the USCIS. Processing time takes 3-4 months and requires the employer to pay a sponsorship fee. Graduates can maintain this visa for up to three years with the option to renew for another three years.
Notice: all information contained in this article is belied to be correct at the time of going to press, however visa rules are complicated within any country. The information contained should in no way be considered a substitute for conducting your own research.
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