Abstract: Information Sources and Perceived Constraints of Immigration Rules on Career Prospects Among International Students (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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426P Information Sources and Perceived Constraints of Immigration Rules on Career Prospects Among International Students

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
HaeJung Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Kirsten Song, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
A 2013 survey of the Institute of International Education revealed that a major contributing factor for international students’ decision to study in the U.S. is to enhance career opportunities and gain experience for future employment. Despite the significance of career-related issues in international students’ migratory life, their concern with future employment has been understudied. Most of the studies are in the form of needs assessment or more qualitatively driven research. The purpose of this study is to develop a new scale measuring international students’ perceived constraints from immigration rules on their career prospects. We constructed a Perceived Immigration Rules as a Constraint on Career Prospect Scale (PCIRCPS) and tested it for its validity. We also explored factors associated with the respondents’ perceived constraints of immigration rules.

A cross-sectional online survey was used for this study. We tested the validity of PCIRCPS with international students enrolled in one large public university in the United States. In the spring of 2019, the international student office assisted us to distribute an online survey questionnaire. A total of 357 students completed the survey. We developed a seven-item PCIRCPS by taking a deductive research approach. Sample items include, “I think immigration rules or visa regulations applied to international students would influence my career options and choices.” All the answers were constructed on a five-point Likert-type ranging from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree. We used STATA16 software for the analysis.

The results of Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) of the seven-item, one factor with one error covariance model resulted in a c2 value of 83.78, df = 13 (p <.001), RMSEA = .134 (.11-.16), CFI = .91, TLI, .86, and SRMR = .07. All loadings were significant and ranged .48 to .78, which was acceptable. The average score of PCIRCPS was 3.96 and ranged from 1.86 to 5.00. Older respondents at the time of the survey and at the time of migration tended to perceive a higher level of constraints. About 77% of the respondents reported that they received information or guidance related to immigration rules from international student office, followed by the Internet websites (70.1%), peers (60.1%), and family (22.7%). The respondents found the information from the international office is the most helpful (M=4.01, SD=.91). We found no differences on the perceived level of immigration rule constraints on career prospects by where they obtained the information. Rather, the quality of the information obtained from the sources that have a statistically meaningful effect on the respondents’ perceived immigration rule constraints on career prospects. Those who found information gained from the international student office highly helpful perceived immigration rules as constraints in a lower level.

This finding highlights a critical role a university international student office plays in international students’ transition from school to work. Our findings suggest international students could step in and expand their services not only to provide accurate and reliable information regarding visa regulations but also to collaborate with career service facilities to provide career counseling specifically targeted for international students.