The ugly face of cross-border protectionism is hitting the U.S. financial industry and business schools, forcing Bank of America to rescind job offers it made to as many as 50 graduating M.B.A. students who aren't U.S. citizens.
BofA is the first bank to take this step, reports the Financial Times. The bank blamed conditions laid out in its bailout deal. A provision of the $787 billion economic stimulus bill prevents financial institutions receiving money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program from applying for H1-B visas for highly skilled immigrants if they have laid off U.S. workers.
BofA's move worries U.S. business schools whose graduate programs attract a large number of students from outside the country. The FT also cites concern the same legal issues that drove the bank's decision could give foreign banks operating here "the pick of the MBA crop this year." UBS and Deutsche Bank, among others, are recruiting in the U.S. Also, the FT says, HSBC plans to quadruple its international management program hires this year, to 80 from the customary 20.
Business schools are concerned that this policy will discourage foreign students from studying in U.S. M.B.A. programs.