The Right to Work for International Students
Mr. Hickey and his wife are in love with Asian cuisine. They usually go out for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon on weekends. They enjoy the foods there and give out generous tips to the waiter who has been so nice to them. The Hickeys however, may not know that the young and sweet Vietnamese waiter is working under the table, so he can’t get the tip. The fact that the international students are not allowed to work off campus has resulted in a large number of illegal working students. The government’s policy has its reasons; but it has caused a number of negative impacts on international students, and does not seem to be a good idea for the American economy.
The policy, firstly, creates a hard pressure on international students, especially the poor. Foreign students have to pay tuition three times as much as Americans; it is harder for them to afford college without working. For example, at South Seattle Community College, resident students pay $73.90 per credit, while non-resident students pay $245.60. Annually, a typical international student has to pay from $10,000 to $15,000 for study fees, and at least $6,000 for living expenses. This is definitely not a small amount of money, especially to students. While all their American classmates can legally have a job to pay for college, most students from overseas who are already allowed to work legally in their home countries have to cover the increasingly high expenses of college using their parents’ money. Therefore, to be able to pursue their studies at school, international students, in addition to saving money as much as possible, try to find a job off campus. However, they know that they are risking their stay at the United States. They live three people in one rented cramped room, make tables from traffic signs, and buy chairs from Goodwill. They go shopping in Dollar Tree stores, and they are familiar faces in food banks. Students, who choose to work under the table, are abused by callous employees. They usually get paid from $6 to $8 per hour under a hard working condition. They work from ten to twelve hours per day without a break. Waiters can’t get their tip and run in a whole day like crazy dogs. Landscape guys have to climb up a thirty foot tree without any safety kit, because it costs $80 for employees to rent a kit in one day for cutting trees. Above is the effect for the poor, and below is the effect for the rich. Wealthy international students study in school three hours a day, don’t have a job, so many of them have a whole bunch of free time for playing, gambling, or engaging in drunken merrymaking. It is obviously not good for their studying. It is like the devil makes work for idle hands. On the other hand, the policymakers state that foreign students come here to study, not for work. Did they ever think about the situation employees would hire the student who worked a part-time job, or the student who never worked before? A job not only brings some extra bucks to a student, but also gives him invaluable social experiences which are really needed in the future.
The second effect is the policy creates a tremendous number of illegal jobs. Schools do allow students to work on campus, but for a limited number of hours, and there are also not many vacancies. The waiting list is getting longer and longer. Besides, students get laid-off after one thousand working hours. Because after such amount of time, they will get more benefit according to the laws of labor union. The schools don’t want to pay these extra bucks, so they just kick students out of workplaces. The government and schools just push students into illegal labor market. In contrast, the policymakers may state that the purpose of the law is protecting jobs for natives, although the policy makes the labor market less competitive. However, the fact is the number of illegal workers still increases overtime, and the unemployment grew five percent in December 2007. One of the simple reasons is Americans are whether or not willing to do dirty jobs like cleaning toilet which a lot of foreigners are eager to do. In addition, some students need money so much that they have to do illegal jobs like smuggling Iphones or money laundering. Iphones suppliers for black market in Asia are usually foreign students in America. For money laundering, Asian hackers steal the information of many US bank accounts and give them to students. After many complicated laundering steps, they can cash-out safely.
The rule not only creates a whole bunch of illegal jobs, but also is not a good idea for American economy. Firstly, it affects international students wanting to study in USA. Students are allowed to work part-time outside campus in such countries as Japan, Australia or England, while they are not in the U.S. This will make students hesitate about choosing the US for study. If they study in England instead of America, America will lose money from this loss. According to Opendoors website, international students contribute approximately twelve billion dollars to the US economy through their expenditures on tuition and living expense. Secondly, there are more than half a million foreign students, if US allows them to work, America will have a huge source of cheap and skilled labors. Unless, after graduating, they will come back their countries, take their knowledge away America. They will contribute to their countries instead of to the country of Statue of Liberty. They will set up many companies which may become American companies’ opponents in the future.
There are some reasons for American government to prohibit international students from working, but its effects outweigh such reasons. It is better that American change the rule or people don’t need to tip in Asian restaurants because restaurant owners will take it, not waiters.
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