International worker support

“As an international graduate worker, there was a ton to figure out, from American taxes, to housing policies, to transportation (as a Canadian, I can handle the winters). But scariest of all is navigating the American health care system!” reported Megan, a graduate employee in the humanities.

International graduate workers make up a growing percentage of the graduate community at Georgetown. For many of us, this is our first time at an American university, or in the United States. We are less familiar with our legal rights as immigrants, as students, and as workers.

GAGE is committed to bridging this gap and to serving the needs of international workers at Georgetown. We want all student-employees to feel welcome, appreciated, and protected within the legal and social community at Georgetown.

As an international student-employee, you have the right to unionize as a graduate worker, regardless of your F1/J1 status. Discrimination against union supporters or members in job applications, grants, funding, or any professional environment is illegal under US law. At the University of Oregon, Article 23 Section 6 provides SEVIS fee reimbursement for all international students, saving individuals around $200.

International graduate employees are often not covered by the legal rights and advantages that US citizens enjoy. These include access to federal loans, off-campus employment rights, and spouse and child benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

GAGE is committed to working with its international worker membership in order to address the needs unique to this group and to ensure their representation in contract negotiations with the university.

Recent proposed reforms to the H1-B visa process may make applications for immigration status more difficult. GAGE will work with in-house lawyers and Georgetown’s administration to support international workers as they navigate the job application and visa process, thus ensuring that Georgetown maintains its rich, inclusive status as a world-class university with world-class graduate scholars.