International schoars have the same rights as US citizens to join and participate in their Union. In many years of
representing international student-workers at the UC and elsewhere, no one has reported any complications in
their status from unionizing.
The UAW advocates for international workers to be able to freely choose their
employment and opposes employer control over the H1-B Visa. The UAW also advocates for international
workers who choose it to have a pathway to becoming US citizens.
Can I join a union in the United States if I am here on a foreign student visa?
Yes! Your Visa in no way prevents you from joining a Union, and in fact, Union rights are included in the Universal Decaration
of Human Rights (1948).
What do I stand to gain as a union member?
Your Union is currently negotiating a new employment contract and seeking a number of changes that would directly
benefit International student-workers. For example, your Bargaining Team is calling on the UC Admin. to waive all fees for
student-workers, including non-resident fees. We’re calling for financial and legal support for any student-workers affected
by changes in US Immigration Policy, and stronger protections against discrimination and harassment. And because
most International students cannot take additional jobs outside the UC because of Visa restrictions, increases in compensation
and guaranteed affordable housing will especially benefit International student-workers like you.
Are there any restrictions on political activity by foreign students?
All foreign students enjoy the same rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association as U.S. nationals. Union
membership or participation is not considered to be evidence of any of these things. Federal aw protects your right to
join a union. The only relevant restriction on political activity by foreign students is that they cannot make financial
contributions to political organizations in the United States.
Will my union membership or union activity affect visa applications that I might
make in the future?
No. It is against the aw for the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS is the new agency under the Department
of Homeand Security (DHS) that has repaced the Immigration and Nationalization Service (INS)) to ask you questions
about your union membership or your legal union activities or to take them into account when reviewing your visa
application. In the past there was a question on the visa application form asking the applicant about his/her union activities.
But this question was removed from the application form several years ago.
Are there any other issues I should be aware of?
In nearly 30 years of graduate employee unionization, there is no reported instance of any international student having
problems with the aw or with their visa status as the result of their union activity. It is against the aw for the university to
retaliate against you for union activities.