There’s been an air of uncertainty and confusion over the last few months in terms of American visas, particularly the year-long Graduate Visa. Just like the updated requirement of the J1 visa in 2015 that made a confirmed job prior to departure a requirement, each year can see changes to eligibility.
Last November, things became even murkier given the change in the US political landscape. Everything from unsubstantiated rumours to downright fabrications became circulated about Irish graduates ability to go on the Graduate Visa. Here are 10 most circulated myths about the programme, debunked:
#1 – US Companies Don’t Want To Hire Irish Graduates
While there are a huge amount of variables in selecting the right graduates for roles in the States, there’s no basis for nationality being one of these factors.
Irish graduates are hugely well thought of in the US, particularly within Computer Science, Engineering and Business. In 2017, this continues to be the case thanks to our graduates leaving third level education, highly skilled and often with some practical work experience. Competition for the glamour internships in Silicon Valley or New York is unsurprisingly fierce however there is no evidence that being an international visa holder has any impact on who gets hired. If anything, you’re more sought after – you bunch of charmers.
#2 – Intern Opportunities in the US Are Few And Far Between
Not true at all, you just need to know the right places to look. Our Grad Visa team are constantly adding to the directory of positions available as we directly scour the US graduate market to find the most suitable positions for Irish graduates. Aside from our own weekly job updates and contacting Melanie and the team directly there are a number of brilliant digital resources to hunt the right position for you:
- LinkedIn goes without saying!!
In addition to new employers, there are eight years of past employers that have hired Irish graduates on this visa including Dell, Harvard University and Marc Jacobs. The door is anything but closed.
#3 – I Have To Graduate From A Full-Time Course To Be Eligible
Absolutely not true. Once your qualification is a FETAC Level 7 Award of higher, you qualify for the Graduate Visa. Part-time study is common among the Irish workforce and while we’re busting this myth here’s another one – there’s no age limit for applications.
#4 – There’s No Application Deadline. I Can Apply Whenever I Want
This is not strictly speaking true, but it might as well be. Each year a limited allocation of US Graduate Visa are issued to Ireland. Applications are strictly a first-come-first-served basis and last year USIT filled their allocation of Graduate Visas by August.
As of May 2017, there are about 400 visas left to be issued so the advice here is very much about getting your deposit and initial application in as soon as possible, particularly as there are no guarantees the programme will be extended into 2018 and beyond.
#5 – Your Employer Automatically Becomes Your Sponsor
Not true. Your sponsor is, and always will be CIEE for the duration of your time in the US. A sponsor is an organisation that issues your work authorisation documents (DS2019) and will act as your support system and make sure that you are keeping in line with the programme regulations throughout your time in the USA. In terms of job hunting, it’s crucial NOT be asking companies in the USA to sponsor you for the programme, as you already have a sponsor!
When applying for roles make sure to be proactive in telling prospective employers that everything in of your ability to work in the US is taken care of and provide evidence of this. No employer wants a prospective bureaucratic headache on their hands no matter how much you impress them.
#6 – Most US Internships Are Unpaid
WRONG! Very wrong. What is true is that some US internships do not offer a salary, but that is not to say 1. all of them are like this and 2. you should apply for them.
The cost of living in cities like New York is no joke and you’ll need an income to support yourself. We always recommend that graduates only apply for paid positions (unless the family won the lottery and have run out of ways to spend the money).
The average salary of paid internships in the US in the last year? $2,586
US companies understand the huge value of graduates, particularly in tech sectors and some introductory salaries are eye-watering. See for yourself.
#7 – You Still Need An ESTA To Enter The USA
We still get asked this, genuinely! You have a year-long Graduate Visa, you are far in advance of the tourist visa so ignore anything to do with an ESTA once your visa comes through.
#8 – You Can Extend Your Stay For Another 6-Months
The 1 Year USA Graduate visa is exactly that – a one year visa. It cannot be extended. You can stay on at the end of your year for an extra 30 days but that is only for travel purposes, and you need to have an insurance policy that will cover you for this extra month in the USA. However, an extra 6 months on the programme is not possible.
Sometimes this can be confused with the Professional Career Training Visa which allows you to work for up to 18 months but is that recent graduates rarely qualify for the Professional Career Training programme. You need to have at least 1 year of work experience in your field since graduating to qualify the PCT.
#9 – USIT Will Secure You Your Internship
You’re in the big leagues now I’m afraid, the days of being handed things to you are over. We are absolutely committed to providing as much assistance, guidance, advice and resources to you as possible but at the end of the day it’s going to be up to you to apply for and succeed in getting your internship.
It’s not as easy as taking down a ‘Help Wanted’ sign on your way into a bar or restaurant and it is going to take some dedication. Remember though, thousands of Irish graduates like Tom, David, Danielle, Erika and Daragh have all managed it and you absolutely can too!
#10 – It’s Unlikely You’ll Get An Internship in The Three Months You Have To Find One
Ok, this is perhaps the biggest myth. We are not sugar coating anything in saying that finding the internship can be hard but anything worth having surely requires a bit of hard graft?
Oh, and in case you thought you’d arrive into the US with an office to commute to – 90% of our Grad Visa participants secured there role AFTER they arrived in the US. Skype interviews will only get you so far…
Got any questions about your eligibility, how to apply or what opportunities are avail right now? Email Melanie.Young@usit.ie or call us (01) 601 1747.
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