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Thread: RA positions for international students

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    RA positions for international students

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    I am currently applying to one year Master's programs in Economics (LSE/UBC/UoT/UCL). I plan to apply for PhD in Economics after completion of the degree and work in a RA position in the intermediary year between completion of Master's and commencement of PhD. Being an international student from India, several positions are out of our scope due to sponsorship issues or citizenship restrictions. In this context, I had the following questions:

    1. What are the various RA positions international students can vie for (please list them if you could) ?
    2. Do adcoms look upon RAships at RBI (India's central bank) or other India based think tanks favorably?
    3. Assuming I pursue a degree at either of LSE/UCL/UoT/UBC how difficult is it to obtain a RA position at each of these institutions post completion of the degree?
    4. Which other US/Canadian/European universities or institutions hire international students without restrictions?

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Pretty much all major US universities can and do hire international employees.

    It is very easy for US universities to sponsor a visa for temporary research based work such as an RA position.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    You should check the NBER job posting page. Each job posting will list whether they specifically require you to have work authorization in the U.S. If nothing is mentioned, then in most cases they should be able to sponsor you with a visa.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Quote Originally Posted by sparoid View Post
    Pretty much all major US universities can and do hire international employees.

    It is very easy for US universities to sponsor a visa for temporary research based work such as an RA position.
    Interesting, since that is quite different from what I have experienced so far. I once worked as an RA in a major U.S. university, but there were strict regulations in hiring non-U.S. employee, especially if they don't have advanced degrees and looking for temporary position.


    Anyway, back to the original question.
    @pocketcon, did you finish (or will you finish) Bachelor's in the U.S.? If so, you can apply for OPT which is a valid work authorization for 1 year. You can use it for any job (related to your college major) in the U.S. If you didn't finish your undergraduate in the U.S. or could not get an OPT, please see my comments below.

    1.
    - Intergovernmental organizations (ex. The World Bank, IMF, etc.) since their employees get G-4 Visa. Check their job posts.
    - Positions which sponsors H-1 Visa. There are a few but it is difficult to find and they require 2~3 years of commitment. I once applied for a job in AidData and they said they can sponsor H-1 Visa with minimum 2-year commitment.

    2. I don't know.

    3. If you get good grades and maintain good relationship with faculty then you should be able to get a job. If you finish a graduate program you will get a work authorization (OPT) which can be used in school.

    4. In case of U.S., not many as far as I know.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Unfortunately the OPT route is out for me since I graduated 4 years ago and my F1 has expired. It seems that the only possible option is the G-4 visa. There is a J-1 visa for research scholars but I am not sure whether that is meant for RA's or Professors.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Thank you everyone for the feedback !!

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    I am an international student currently RAing at a US university. They sponsor a J-1 for me but mostly H1B for others.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Quote Originally Posted by pocketecon View Post
    Unfortunately the OPT route is out for me since I graduated 4 years ago and my F1 has expired. It seems that the only possible option is the G-4 visa. There is a J-1 visa for research scholars but I am not sure whether that is meant for RA's or Professors.

    They could definitely sponsor you on a J1. The only requirement for the J1 is a bachelors degree and that you are doing "research" type work.

    Universities have a lot of discretion on how they can sponsor you. The real difficulty you will face is not technical Visa problems but rather persuading a potential supervisor that they should hire you instead of a domestic applicant who does not require the added hassle of a Visa sponsorship.

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    Re: RA positions for international students

    Thanks for your input, I will be trying to reach out to faculty at my undergrad institution for help in this regard. Hopefully things should work out then!

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