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Why Foreign Students are Hired for Alaskan Fish Processing Jobs

Why Foreign Students are Hired for Alaskan Fish Processing Jobs | Geography Education |
Foreign students come to Alaska under a special cultural exchange visa.


Globalization, migration, culture and economics all merge in this issue...good for bringing things together as a "synthesis" piece.  

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 18, 2014 12:31 PM

I have a mixed opinion on hiring foreign students for this job.  I have many close friends who came to the US as international students, and it can be extremely difficult for them to find jobs. This job provides students with a rare opportunity to work in the American workforce, while earning a decent wage. From the perspective of a foreign student it is a wonderful idea.  If I lived in Alaska I may not have such a sympathetic opinion.  I would probably feel like hiring foreign students for certain positions is taking away jobs from the locals who participate in the community. The article says that locals work in the more skilled positions, and the foreign students work the smaller jobs.  I can understand why the owner would make this move.  The article stated that the student workers work hard and out in long hours and appreciate the opportunity, and come back.  If an appreciates the opportunity they are given and thoroughly enjoys their work, no matter ho w difficult, the end result will be better all around.  As it said, the student was moved to laundry and saw it as a step up. It shows globalization in North America because it is blending the American culture of a hard day's work, earning a wage and being part of the economic community.

David Lizotte's curator insight, January 27, 10:50 AM

I can relate to this article, to a certain degree. When I was studying at RIC, in 2012 or so, I saw a flyer posted in Gaige Hall. It was in regards to working in Alaska on a fish gutting line. Basically the job described in this article, minimum wage, time and a half as an option, but most importantly room and board covered. I thought it to be an excellent opportunity to make some money but also take the money I've made and adventure back to the east coast however I wanted to do so. Apparently I'm not the only one whom was planning such a journey. Long story short, I stayed in Rhode Island... a good decision non the less.

Its clear that the individuals coming to Alaska on the work visa have no other options in there own country. The students are young, want/need money, but also I have a wanderlust and thirst for knowledge of other cultures. This is wonderful and the opportunity is certainly a unique experience. It takes jobs away from citizens, however how many people are truly effected by this? The industry clearly needed workers if it opened its doors to foreign help. If citizens were working this job, the industry wouldn't need more workers from around the globe. 

The only other thing that comes to my mind is that its cheaper to pay non-citizens working through a visa as oppose to enrolling a tax paying  Citizen. If this is the case... such is business.  

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