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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research student life

Bridge Program to assist students with immigration

The Kelley School of Business has partnered with the Office of International Services to help its international graduates and recruiting companies interested in hiring them through the immigration process.

The new initiative will be called the IU Immigration Bridge program.

Ash Soni, executive associate dean for academic programs in the business school, said becoming employed in the U.S. can be very difficult for international students, and said he feels the bridge program will ease that.

“I know the grad students are very pleased that we’re doing something like this,” he said.

International students make up approximately 20 percent of the undergraduate population at the business school and nearly one third of Kelley graduate students.

“It’s a service that was long overdue,” Soni said.
The program functions by creating a close partnership with a law firm that specializes in immigration law.

Paul Binder, associate director of graduate career services in Kelley, said he hopes the program helps smooth the process of immigration and give Kelley graduates a better chance of receiving a visa.

“We’re excited because we think it really will help some of our fine students,” Binder said.

According to Binder, once students have employment plans relatively in place, they will complete a form on iStart through the Office of International Services. They will then be put in contact with the law firm.

At this point, IU will be out of the process because of lawyer-client confidentiality laws, Binder said.

Soni said he has received positive feedback from companies that recruit at the business school and the program should be announced to undergraduate students soon.

If the program is successful, similar programs might be put in place across the University, Soni said.

“We’re part of the University community, and we want to see everybody take part in it if they have a need,” Binder said.

Soni said the level of company interest would be how he measures
effectiveness.

“I think the bottom line will be how many companies come here and take advantage of the program,” he said.

He said the companies most likely to be interested are small and mid-sized companies, since many larger firms already have a legal team.

With recruiting season largely finished for the year, Soni said he plans on beginning to see effects of the program next year, but would not be surprised to see a few students take advantage of the program in the coming months.

“Overall, I think that, hopefully, it helps our students and employers, and god knows we have the best students, I think, in the world,” said Binder. “So whenever we can help them out, that’s what we’re here for.”

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