I am finishing up my undergraduate degree in mathematics in my home country and expect to apply for PhD studies in statistics in the US (I am also willing to consider Canadian options but more on this later). My wife will also have finished her bachelor's degree in statistics by then and we intend to travel together. It seems to me that we have the following options:
- Spouse does not work or study in the US.
In this case, I am aware that we would have to subsist on my PhD stipend since F-2 visa holders (my wife) are not offered employment. I am unsure whether this could be sustained for an indefinite amount of time (we will get some financial support from our families at home though).
- Spouse works in the US right away.
This would be ideal but I do not know whether US employers would be willing to sponsor a work visa for someone who has a bachelor's degree from a relatively unknown university from outside the US. She will have very good grades though and some professional experience in auditing.
- Spouse pursues a MSc program (in statistics or a related field) with the intention of finding work immediately afterwards.
In this case, we thought of two issues. One is that the MSc would have to be at my own university or somewhere preferably in the same city. Would it be possible for such an arrangement to be made after we arrive in the US and how could funding be secured? The other is related to 2) in the sense of whether she could land a job a short time after her US MSc.
- Spouse pursues a PhD program (in statistics or a related field).
In this case, financial concerns would be minimal since we both would get independent stipends. However, she does not have a genuine academic interest in doing a PhD and would be mainly doing it to chip in with the finances. Another concern is whether we would have time to take care of a baby as PhD students (we are not currently expecting a child, but this could happen before we finish grad school).
As for options outside the US, I am aware that Canada provides an open work permit for international student spouses but have no information on how easy it would be for a foreign graduate to actually land a job in preferably a tech company.
Is this list comprehensive? We would be very grateful for any advice you could provide on any of the above. Personal anecdotes would also be most welcome since they are absent in most generic information pages on this topic. On a more positive note, my wife is considerate and super supportive so we are both willing to bear with any tough times for a better future :)
UPDATE: Thank you for all your suggestions! Would love to hear from an international student who has been in similar circumstances. Any advice on the above career prospects from a Canadian perspective would be welcome too