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International Student Job Search. It is important for students to understand the U.S. immigration process when having discussions with prospective employers.

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Presentation on theme: "International Student Job Search. It is important for students to understand the U.S. immigration process when having discussions with prospective employers."— Presentation transcript:

1 International Student Job Search

2 It is important for students to understand the U.S. immigration process when having discussions with prospective employers. Students can’t assume that employers understand immigration laws or know what approvals are necessary to prove employment eligibility. Knowing what you can and can’t do could be the difference in whether or not you get hired.

3 Most Common Immigration Statuses that Allow for Work F-1 Student H-1B Specialty Worker J-1 Exchange Visitor TN Trade NAFTA O-1 Extraordinary Ability

4 F-1 Students All F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of OPT employment for each higher degree level they obtain. In addition, students with degrees in Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics can sometimes receive an additional seventeen (17) month extension (29 total months of OPT), if employer uses E-Verify system. F-1 students with co-op or internship requirements can also gain work authorization through Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

5 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Optional Practical Training (OPT) must be authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) based on a recommendation from the designated school official (DSO) at the school which issued the form I-20, a government document which verifies the student’s admission to that institution. The term “optional” means that the student can use all or part of their total practical training allotment up to a maximum of 12 months. OPT can be authorized by the CIS: (1) during vacation when school is not in session – full-time or part-time employment is allowed; (2) for part-time work, a maximum of 20 hours per week, while school is in session; (3) after completing all course requirements for the degree (full- time or part-time); or (4) full-time after completion of the course of study.

6 OPT (contd.) Employment is authorized on an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The student’s name, photo and validity dates of employment are printed on the EAD. Employers should note that the average processing time for CIS to issue the EAD is three months. Employers should also be aware that the amount of time it takes the CIS to approve the EAD is beyond the control of the student or the school. Delays of 90 days or more are typical during the summer months. Optional practical training employment must be related to the student’s field of study. A speech communication major, for example, is not eligible to work as a computer programmer on OPT.

7 STEM Degree Fields Actuarial Science Computer Science (except data entry/microcomputer applications) Engineering Engineering Technologies Biological and Biomedical Sciences Mathematics and Statistics Military Technologies Physical Sciences Science Technologies Medical Scientist

8 EAD for OPT

9 While on OPT there are limits on how long you can remain in the U.S. while unemployed. For students on 12-month OPT the maximum amount of time you can remain unemployed is 90 days. Students who qualify for and receive the 17-month OPT extension can be unemployed for an aggregate of 120 days. This particular part of the rule puts responsibility on students to keep UC International Services up to date with name and address of your OPT employer. Unless we have the SEVIS system updated with the name and address of your employer you will be accumulating unemployment time in SEVIS. Once you have reached the 90 or 120 day maximum your F-1 status will be terminated.

10 H-1B CAP GAP RELIEF F-1 students who are the beneficiaries of pending or approved H-1B petitions, but whose period of authorized F-1 stay expires before the H-1B employment start date can extend their status AND work authorization. This rule applies to all students on OPT, not just STEM students. The extension of duration of status and work authorization automatically terminates upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1B petition filed on the student's behalf. Students are REQUIRED to obtain a new I-20 form from UC International Services showing an OPT recommendation that covers this “cap-gap” period. Students will need to provide UC International Services with proof of H-1B receipt or approval in order to obtain the new I-20 form.

11 H-1B Specialty Workers H-1B specialty workers are international visitors who have skills and experience of a special nature that require at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience. An applicant is not permitted to begin work for an employer until an H-1B is approved for the employer. There is an exception for individuals who currently hold H-1B status for another employer. H-1B employees have a maximum stay of six (6) years in the category no matter how many different employers they have. Employment can be granted for a maximum of three (3) year increments. Extensions beyond the six year limit are available if an employer has initiated green card efforts prior to the end of the fifth year of H-1B status.

12 How long is an H-1B valid? The initial petition for an individual worker can be approved for up to three years. The validity of an H-1B petition is linked to the particular employer, employee, job duties, location and wage. If there are material changes in the terms of employment or the legal identity of the employer during the petition period, the H-1B may be considered automatically invalidated. If the employee engages in work activities not authorized on the petition, the employee is in violation of U.S. laws and potentially deportable. The employer may request an extension for up to an additional three years. However, most foreign workers are subject to a six-year limit in H-1B status. Any time spent working under a previous employer’s H-1B petition will count toward the six year limit in H-1B status.

13 How long is an H-1B valid? (contd.) In some cases, it is possible to get permission to exceed the six-year limit on H-1B status. For example, if the green card process is initiated before the end of the employee’s fifth year of H-1B status, extensions of H-1B status in one year increments are available until the green card application is decided. Those who are the beneficiaries of an approved I-140 are eligible for additional H-1B time in three year increments if the priority date is not current.

14 How long does it take to get an H-1B petition approved? Currently, a reasonable window of expectation is about two to three months. Because each H- 1B petition revolves around facts related to the individual candidate, as well as to the employer and the position, there is some variation in the preparation and processing time needed for H- 1B cases. By paying an extra $1,000 expedited processing fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an employer can anticipate H-1B petition processing within fifteen (15) calendar days and can be filed no earlier than 4 months prior to start date. If the annual quota for new H-1B workers is reached, processing could be delayed until October 1st, when the next fiscal year begins. If the candidate is outside the United States, processing times can be increased by several weeks or months while the U.S. government completes security clearances and consular visa processing.

15 What are the fees involved in filing an H-1B case? There are multiple fees involved in filing an H-1B petition. The total amount to be paid depends on whether the petition is a “new” petition and whether the employer is an institution of higher education or a non- profit governmental or research organization. There is a $320.00 application fee that is required of all H-1B petitions (this will increase in November). A $500.00 fraud prevention and detection fee is required for and employer’s “initial” petition. “Initial” petitions include any application by an employer for an employee who currently does not hold H-1B status or for an employee who currently holds H-1B status for another employer.

16 What are the fees involved in filing an H-1B case? (contd.) For employers who are not an institution of higher education or a non-profit governmental or research organization, an additional training fee is required. The fee is $750 for employers with 25 or fewer full- time equivalent employees and $1,500 for employers with 26 or more full-time equivalent employees. There is an optional premium processing fee of $1,000 that can be paid. The premium processing fee guarantees an answer on the petition within 15 days of receipt at the USCIS. Finally, if the employee already in the U.S. has dependents who need H-4 dependent status a fee of $300.00 is required for the I- 539 form.

17 Who usually pays the filing fees? Department of Labor regulations require that the employer pay the H-1B filing fees (application fee, training fee, fraud prevention and detection fee). The optional premium processing fee (paid to obtain faster processing) may in some cases be paid by the employee or a third-party.

18 Who usually pays the legal expenses? As with the filing fee, a Department of Labor regulation generally requires the employer to pay. The regulation states that all costs in connection with preparation and filing of the LCA and H-1B petition are considered the employer’s business expenses and must be paid by the employer, and the employer cannot be reimbursed by the employee.

19 Can I change employers? Workers in H-1B status are only allowed to work for a petitioning employer. There is no restriction on changing employers, so long as the new employer follows proper H- 1B petitioning procedures, an H-1B employee can change employers. Employers hiring workers already in H-1B status under certain circumstances may be allowed to commence the employment upon filing their H-1B petition, rather than waiting for approval.

20 Is there a quota limiting the number of new H-1B workers? The government’s fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30. Sixty-five thousand (65,000) H-1B petitions can be approved during a fiscal year. Additionally, twenty thousand (20,000) petitions can be approved for individuals who have obtained a Master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. Each foreign national (with the three exceptions noted below), who is approved for H-1B classification is counted in this determination. However, approvals for extensions of stay in H-1B classification, sequential employment, concurrent employment, and amended petitions are not counted in this determination.

21 Numerical Limitation on H-1B Non-immigrants (H-1B Cap) (contd.) H-1B employees of higher education institutions, nonprofit research organizations and government research organizations are not counted toward the quota. However, if they change employers to a nonexempt employer, they will be counted toward the quota in the year they changed employers. Furthermore, individuals counted toward the quota in the previous six years of H-1B status who have been outside the United States for one full year and are again seeking admission pursuant to H-1B classification will be counted toward the quota.

22 Who is actually subject to the cap? Not every H-1B applicant is subject to the cap. Visas will still be available for applicants filing for amendments, extensions, and transfers unless they are transferring from an exempt employer or exempt position and were not counted towards the cap previously. The cap also does not apply to applicants filing H-1B visas through institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations, and government research organizations.

23 Portability of H-1B Status Individuals who were previously provided H-1B status, who were lawfully admitted and who have not been employed without authorization in the United States, may accept new employment upon the filing by the prospective employer of an H-1B petition with the CIS. If the petition is denied, the authorization to continue the employment ceases. The H-1B employee should maintain employment with the current H-1B employer until the new employer’s I-129 petition requesting portability is received by CIS.

24 Unpaid Benching Employers are required to pay H-1B non- immigrants as stated on the LCA, even if the H-1B non-immigrant is not performing work (i.e. benched) unless the non- immigrant is not working for personal reasons unrelated to the job such as caring for an ill relative, maternity etc.

25 Attorney’s Fees The regulations further provide that certain H-1B non-immigrants cannot pay attorney fees. Specifically, H-1B non-immigrants cannot pay attorney fees if said fees (and related costs), when deducted from the H- 1B non-immigrants salary, would make the wage less than the higher of the actual or prevailing wage for the position.

26 J-1 Exchange Visitors

27 J-1 status holders are referred to as exchange visitors. Institutions must be designated as an exchange visitor program in order to issue a DS-2019 for J-1 status. J-1 exchange visitors are limited to work on the premises of the institution that issued the DS-2019. Under certain circumstances some exchange visitors may be authorized to do work, give lectures, or engage in other activities off the premises of the sponsor. Such employment must be specifically authorized in writing by the sponsor. J-1 exchange visitors can fall into one of the following categories: Professor; Research Scholar; Short-Term Scholar; Specialist; Student (degree and non- degree); AuPair; Camp Counselor; Alien Physician; Trainee; Government Visitors; and Summer Work. Each category has its own time limitations.

28 Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement The two-year home country physical presence requirement is one of the most important special characteristics of exchange visitor status and should be thoroughly understood by the employer. An exchange visitor subject to the two year requirement is not eligible to obtain permanent residency, H temporary worker or trainee, or L intra-company transferee status in the United States until they have resided and been physically present in their country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for a total of at least two years following departure from the United States. They are also not permitted to change to another non-immigrant status in the United States.

29 J-1 Academic Training Practical training for J-1 students is called “academic training.” International students on J-1 visas are eligible for up to 18 months of academic training. Post-doctoral students are permitted three years of academic training. Some J-1 students are also allowed to work part-time during the academic program under academic training. Academic training is granted in writing by the RO or ARO at the institution the student is attending. Students should consult with the RO or ARO at their institution.

30 TN Status for Canadians

31 TN Trade NAFTA Canadians/Mexicans admitted for employment under the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The type of employment must be included on the approved list of occupations and can last up to three years in duration, although the employment can be renewed multiple times. This is a good employment option for Canadians when the H-1B cap is reached.

32 Under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) Canadian professionals may apply to enter the U.S. under the TN visa classification. Main procedural step: Apply at the U.S./Canadian border Initial duration of status: Three year maximum Total time-limit cap on category: No time cap Processing time: Instant approval Major advantage: Quick Major disadvantages: Not all professions qualify

33 Requirements for TN Status: Proof of Canadian citizenship (Canadian Landed Immigrants and non-Canadian citizens must apply for H-1B status). Evidence that the intended U.S. employment and the applicant quality under Schedule 2 of NAFTA (A list of professionals who qualify under Chapter 15, Schedule 2, of NAFTA is provided in the following pages). Applicants must intend to engage in employment at a professional level and the employment must be prearranged by a U.S. company or institution. A letter from the U.S. employer detailing the nature of the employment. TN status is granted for only one employer at a time for a specific type of work. For multiple employers, multiple TN applications must be filed (if applying at the border). Form I-129 approved by the USCIS if applying to the USCIS Service Center instead of the border. Self-employed professionals are precluded from obtaining TN status.

34 Documents Necessary to Prove Nature Employment: A letter from U.S. employer detailing nature of employment in U.S. The employment must be temporary. A letter from U.S. employer stating that employment is temporary is needed. A person on TN status can later apply for permanent resident status based on the same U.S. employment. However, at the time of the TN application, the applicant cannot intend to remain in the United States permanently. There must be no strike or lockout at proposed worksite. If there is, the DHS may deny the entry or employment.

35 Documents Necessary to Prove Applicant’s Qualifications: Originals or certified copies of school records, diplomas, licenses, degrees, certificates or membership in professional organizations, or transcripts showing an appropriate degree (bachelor’s degree or higher) from a recognized university or college; a statement of U.S. equivalency might be required. If a license is necessary in the U.S. state where employment is located (i.e., C.P.A., lawyer, professional engineer, etc.), then the applicant must provide proof of possession of a license to be able to practice in the U.S. or an explanation in the petitioner’s cover letter regarding why the beneficiary does not need to be licensed to perform services in the particular state. DHS will approve an unlicensed applicant who will be under the direct supervision of licensed personnel. (This occurs only in professions that customarily permit members to practice under these conditions.)

36 LIST OF PROFESSIONS QUALIFYING FOR TN STATUS ProfessionMinimum Educational Requirement AccountantBaccalaureate or Licenciatura degree; or C.P.A., C.A., C.G.A., or C.M.A. ArchitectBaccalaureate or Licenciatura degree; Computer Baccalaureate or Licenciatura Programmerdegree; Engineer Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree; or state/provincial license Research Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree. Assistant BiologistBaccalaureate or Licenciatura degree ChemistBaccalaureate or Licenciatura degree University Teacher Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree. Mathematician Baccalaureate or Licenciatura degree.

37 O-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability An employment category for persons of extraordinary ability. O-1 status is an excellent option for persons subject to the two year home residency requirement who are not eligible for H-1B specialty worker Status. O-1 applicants must demonstrate that they have made outstanding contributions in their field and they have risen to the top of their field and enjoy sustained national or international acclaim.


39 For Teaching Positions: The job must include actual classroom teaching. The position must have been advertised in a national professional journal/publication and this ad must be a paper/print advertisement. The foreign national selected must have been found to have been more qualified than any U.S. workers who applied for the job. U.S. worker is defined as a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, permanent resident or temporary permanent resident, refugee or asylee. The formal offer letter must have been issued within 18 months of the date on which the labor certification application is submitted to the Department of Labor. Copies of the CVs received from all applicants must be retained. A Report of Recruitment must be prepared, printed on letterhead and signed by the Department Head. A sample report is provided with these instructions. Below is an overview of the Labor Certification process for teaching and non-teaching professional positions.

40 For Non-Teaching Professional Positions: In order to qualify for Labor Certification, the U.S. Department of Labor requires the employer to prove that no minimally qualified U.S. workers are available to fill the position at the time of filing. U.S. worker is defined as a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, permanent resident or temporary permanent resident, refugee or asylee. Note: Individuals who meet all minimum requirements, but indicate they have accepted other employment or would not accept the position for any reason, an example being the offered salary or benefits, are not considered to be an “available U.S. worker.”

41 Below is an overview of the Labor Certification process for teaching and non-teaching professional positions. The position must be advertised in two Sunday newspapers with the highest subscription rate locally. Three additional recruitment steps must be selected from the following ten options: Job fairs; Employer’s website; Job Search website other than employer’s; On-campus recruiting; Print ad with trade or professional organization; Private employment firm; Employee referral program; Campus placement office; Local and ethnic newspapers; Radio and television advertisements.

42 International Student Orientation to the Career Development Center Welcome!

43 International Student Orientation to the Career Development Center James Novak, M Ed Associate Director University of Cincinnati Career Development Center 140 University Pavilion 513-556-0318 –

44 Objective: –Understand/define the International Students’ employment expectations –Understand/define the employment expectations U.S. Employers have of International Students –Offer job search strategies and resources to International Students which help them meet their expectations and those of U.S. Employers

45 Why did you choose to come to the United States? What is your expectation in finding employment? Who wants to find a job (Full-time and/or internship in the United States? Do you hope to stay here after graduation? If so, how long? Do you hope to go back to your home country upon graduation?

46 Welcome to America! – U.S. Academia loves you! International students are important to our campuses/country educational benefits of a diverse campus contribute significantly to US research & development add considerably to US economy enhance relationships/goodwill worldwide US is becoming less appealing with international students

47 Not so fast, U.S. Employers are ambivalent! Ambivalence = Uncertainty caused by inability to make a choice The coexistence of positive and negative feelings toward the same person

48 U.S. Employers interest in International Students Recruiting Trends 2002-2003 * –CERI – 376 Survey Respondents –“One third expressed an interest in employing an (international) student. However, problems…often outweighed merits… –Economy – Poor U.S. economy = U.S. first policy –Process – Justify 12 month hire, can not learn the job in time –Cost – Time limits, mean training costs not recovered, expensive insurance –Language – Ability to perform w/English only

49 The International Student Job Search Company Concerns for Hiring International Students –The difference in visas and amount of time and paperwork it takes to file then with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) –Most employers don’t know the difference between a J-1 or F-1 or how they differ with the H-1B

50 Know the Law! –Guidelines for Curricular Practical Training? Post- Curricular Training –What is your visa status? –What will it take to change it, if you wish?

51 Know Yourself! –What do you have to offer an employer, that distinguishes you from any U.S. Citizen with a similar (Bachelor’s) degree?

52 Know Yourself! –Interests –Abilities –Values –Visit the Career Development Center ( ) Room 140 University – Ask about DISCOVER and more

53 Know Yourself! –Strengths –Weaknesses

54 Know the Job Search Process! –Identify career options –Register with appropriate offices - Recruit a ‘ –Develop resume –Learn to write cover letters –Brush up on interviewing (Cultural Differences) –Know where to look (25% Electronic/75% Networking –Record keeping –Follow-up

55 Why do employers come to any one campus? They have job openings. The school offers talent from academic programs they seek, generally nationally ranked. School offers Internship and/Cooperative Education Geographic proximity to businesses The school’s and company’s shared research interests Influential Alumni referrals Given the above, what companies are in UC’s “sphere of influence”?

56 UC’s “Sphere of Influence” (SOURCES of NETWORKS) – –On-Campus Recruiting –Company Information Sessions –Engineering Tribunal Career Fair –Student Professional Associations (Events, Company Tours)

57 Register with Recruit a ‘Cat ( Collect position descriptions

58 Business Research Resources using the UC Library To get to the website: 1) Go to 2) Click on Current Students 3) Click on Libraries 4) Click on Subject Resources which is along the left-hand side 5) Click on Business 6) Click on Resources listed by Subject which is highlighted in red along the top 7) Click on Companies (U.S) 8) Click on Company Databases D&B Million Dollar Database Factiva Hoover’s Online WETFEET in Recruit a ‘Cat – sponsored by Turner Construction

59 Job Search Strategies Which Ones Are Employers Using? Elements of a Strategic Job Search Techniques and Strategies Used To Recruit College Graduates (Recruiting Trends 2006-2007) Strategy# Employers % Company’s Employment Web Page644 78 Employee References642 78 Job/Career Fairs54566 College/Service Provider Web Site532 65 Resume Referral51063 On-Campus Recruiting508 62 Internship/Co-op45857 Ads, Professional Journals444 55 Local Job Boards37244 Staffing Consultant15119 What do the strategies in RED have in common?

60 Job Search Strategies and Resources for International Students Know How to Network! (75% of Available Opportunities) –Personal Relationships are what makes the job search process come together. –Conduct Informational Interviews. –Look for Expatriates - Tap into Cultural Affinity. –Tap into U.S. companies with interests in your native land. –Tap into home companies with interests in the U.S.

61 Job Search Strategies and Resources for International Students Sources for Developing Networks –Career Fairs –UC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION –PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS –CITIES IN NEED –UC STUDENT ETHNIC ASSOCIATIONS –Other colleges and universities

62 Social Networking Facebook:  2,500 Fans  UC News Feed, share photos/video, events, discussions LinkedIn:  4,800 Members  Sub-Groups: University of Cincinnati Alumni Association, Business Promotion and Networking for UC Alumni, Regional Alumni Groups Twitter: CareerTools Plus:  Job Search Steps: Over 40 pages of instructions, tips and tools to help find a better job faster  Develop Your Career: Stay on top of your profession and manage your career  Your Own Business: Over 60 pages of information about starting a business  ResumeMaker and Resume and Cover Letter examples  Search for Jobs: jobs databases and resume posting site  E-learning courses and podcasts  Research Resources – for company research, news and information

63 Job Search Strategies and Resources for International Students Know What is Available Temporarily!!! –Cooperative –Internships? –Temporary Employment Agencies? Aerotek Kelly Scientific Services

64 Interviewing American Style Employer Expectations (Cultural Values) –Confidence and self-promotion –Flexibility and change –Goal oriented –Competitive –Self-sufficient –Direct speech/Openness –Efficiency/Time control

65 Interviewing American Style Contrasting Values –Modesty and group orientation –Honoring tradition and stability –Focus on being, the past, human relations –Avoidance of criticism, politeness, and eye contact relative to status –Personal relationships more important than time or work

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