International students struggling to get jobs on campus

NORFOLK — First-year international students at Northeast Community College face problems with finding good jobs due to their inability to work off campus.

Students from foreign countries are allowed to enter the United States as a full-time student with an academic student visa assigned to them, also known as a F-1 Visa. The students that are enrolled at Northeast under F-1 Visas are therefore allowed to complete their studies at Northeast as long as they remain “in status.” Remaining “in status” means they can’t work off campus during the first academic year.

When a student under F-1 Visa manages to complete their first academic year they are allowed to seek employment off-campus after they have gone through a system called E-verified.

“What this system does is it basically lets our organization know if an individual is able to work in the country,” Marcus Rios, director of human resources said. “The system works through a social security number. You enter the person’s name as well as document numbers. Basically the system tells us if the person is authorized to work in the United States or not. If not, then more verification is needed.”

Malawian student Charlotte Kadangwe has been at Northeast for a year and currently works at a nursing home. “Getting verified wasn’t easy, but I kept trying and eventually it worked. Working off campus opened up a lot of doors for me. I am capable of taking care of myself in every way possible,” Kadangwe said.

Most students find jobs on the campus, subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Although international students may work on-campus, getting the job tends to be a long step-by-step process. Students that have interest in being employed during their time at Northeast have to first find a valid and reliable job offer.

“Once a student has a valid job offer, they are required to go to the social security office to register for a social security card,” Pamela Saalfeld, director of the center for global engagement, said. “Receiving the social security card in the mail will take at least two weeks, but once they have it they can then proceed to the human resources office to complete paperwork for the job.”

Students still looking for jobs on campus said that finding a job offer when there aren’t any jobs left makes the whole process long.

“It took me a while to apply for my social security card considering I had to wait for a job opening and by the time I got my social security card they weren’t hiring anymore. I had no choice but to look for a different job,” Cuban student Laura Hernandez, said.

Rios said that the reason the step-by-step process exists is because the United States Citizenship and Immigration service set it that way.

“If a person has a F-1 Visa, which again is a student visa, they are eligible to work at the institution that provides them with a petition for that visa, which in our case is Northeast Community College,” Rios said. “So if your visa is valid or active, you’re allowed to work for the institution that provides you with the petition for the visa.”

Therefore, students can only work off campus when the system validates them to do so. Students said that getting a job on or off campus during college is difficult for them because the entire process demands a lot of time and paperwork.


NORFOLK– Having a job while being a full-time college student can be difficult, but it’s necessary. Balancing school work, a social life and getting money is a challenge most college students are facing daily.
Northeast Community College recognizes this struggle and offers job positions to students. Students have the opportunity to work, study and sleep all from the same place. Students need to be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester to be eligible. All on-campus student employees are guaranteed to work 10 hours every week. Student employee at the Simon Hall desk Rebecka Mackling got her job by applying the summer she got out of high school at registration for the fall 2016 semester. On-campus jobs work easily around class schedules. “I just tell them when I am available and when I am not. They just put me in when needed so I can get my 10 hours a week,” Mackling said.
A part of being in college is learning how to manage all the new responsibilities. Staying organized and using time wisely is crucial to balancing homework while making money. One of those responsibilities is having contact with employers to create a flexible work schedule that complies with class schedules. For freshman Andrea Braun her job off campus at Tropical Waters works well with her college schedule. “My parents own the business which makes scheduling easy for me. I set up my hours for when my classes finish for the day,” Braun said. Student Dominic Bolling employee at Hausmann Construction said, “my work schedule is very flexible. I just speak to my area manager and we adjust it however we need to.”
Not only do jobs provide money to support students, they also help build a good résumé. College is an important time for students to add work and activities for their future careers. Northeast provides services around campus to aid students with résumés, cover letters and mock interviews. Working can help students learn people’s qualities and how to work with them. Knowing what personalities are beneficial to work with teaches students to know how to treat future coworkers.