Hiring international students is an excellent way to bring some of the world’s best talent into your organization. The benefits of employers hiring international students within their organizations means the opportunity to add cross-cultural experiences and diversity within the workplace. Students who are in the U.S. on student or exchange visas can work in their field of study throughout their academic sessions (Fall, Spring, & Summer).  Internships, co-ops, and practicums are an integral part of the student’s degree program and many times a final requirement to receive their degrees. This is why, as employers, it is important to know some key authorization options in order to give these students opportunities to excel in their careers.

There is a common misconception that hiring international students means lengthy paperwork for your HR department. The truth is, all paperwork and complex immigration forms are handled through the international offices of the student’s university or college. The most basic item employers must provide is an offer letter stating: Start and End Date of internship, co-op, practicum, or position being hired for, whom the student is reporting to, and description of projects for the internship. All other paperwork should be taken care of directly by the student and the office of international affairs.

Depending on the work authorization a student needs to complete their degree requirements, there are two types of non-immigrant student statuses:

  1. F-1 Student Work authorization:

CPT (Curricular Practical Training)

  1. J-1 Student Work authorization:

AT (Academic Training)

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.

The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.

Employers who wish to learn more on visas outside of F-1 and J-1 can find more information on the USCIS website. If you’d like to hear more about our personal experience with hiring international students, please feel free to reach out to Luisa Lopez at llopez@moralesgroup.net

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