International students risk being deported after job offers at cryptocurrency firm allegedly rescinded

rescinded job offers
Frustrated graduates took to LinkedIn to not only share their unfortunate experiences with Coinbase but desperately seek help from their connections for a potential job offer. Source: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AFP

Picture this: you’ve accepted a job offer to work at a reputable company and you’re due to start in two weeks. What could go wrong? 

That’s what international graduate Chung Wook Ahn in the US thought. In February, Chung said he accepted an offer to work at Coinbase — an American company that operates a cryptocurrency exchange platform — and was excited to start after his graduation in May 2022. 

However, just two weeks from the mutually agreed start date, Chung claims he received an email from Coinbase informing him of his job offer rescission due to a hiring freeze impacted by the crashing prices of cryptocurrencies. 

Feeling devastated and lost, Chung is now forced to look for another position. He has only 90 days to do so before his Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa expires — which means that he would have to leave the US or face deportation.

Chung is one of the hundreds of graduates who allegedly had their job offers rescinded days before their start date. Frustrated graduates took to LinkedIn to share their experiences. Some of them claimed they had bypassed many lucrative job opportunities to work at Coinbase. They also seek help from their LinkedIn connections for a potential job position. 

Tianqi (Andy) Wu — one of the international graduates affected by Coinbase’s hiring freeze — said in his LinkedIn post: “Yesterday I received an email from Coinbase telling me that my offer was rescinded due to drastic changes in the company’s hiring plans, right after I found my dream apartment in Seattle and started packing for relocation.” 

“For this opportunity at Coinbase, I cancelled several virtual on sites from other companies and declined graduate school offers.”

Another graduate Tianyou Xiao said he is desperate to find a position before his OPT expires. “My legal status is now in the wind as I am currently on F1 OPT. My Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) card starts in mid-July 2022, so I have very limited time to find another position to stay in the US,” shared Xiao. 

“I am desperately looking for an entry-level software engineer, machine learning engineer, or data scientist position that accepts F1 OPT and can sponsor international students, and I am able to start immediately.”

job offers rescinded

Job offers rescinded, international students have to scramble to find another company to hire them as soon as possible. Source: Octavio Jones/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Coinbase: ‘Truly sorry’ for job offers rescinded

The social media explosion has brought Coinbase under fire for the company’s hiring freeze and how they handled the matter. 

In response to the social media outrage, Chief People Officer L.J. Brock took to LinkedIn and the company’s blog to apologise. “I wanted to share a quick update: I am truly sorry for the impact Thursday’s announcement has caused for all affected Coinbase hires, both personally and for your plans for your career. This is on us — and no reflection of our regard for your talent or contribution we believe you would have brought to Coinbase,” said Brock in his LinkedIn post“While it remains the right decision in the context of the current market conditions and our business priorities, we have an opportunity to demonstrate our Coinbase culture in what we do next.”

Brock also outlined how Coinbase is helping those affected with Coinbase Talent Hub — a talent directory which utilises the company’s reputation and extensive industry network to connect individuals with their next significant role.

“We acknowledge and take responsibility for the experience of those impacted. To further support impacted individuals, we are establishing a talent hub to allow them to opt-in to receive additional support services, including job placement support, resume review, interview coaching and access to our strong industry connections,” Brock wrote in the blog

Coinbase did not disclose how many jobs they have cut, but a total of 320 graduates signed up to be listed on the Coinbase Talent Hub website.

Coinbase did not respond to requests for comment.