How to Employ A Foreign Student

    NEW OPT RULES COMING SOON! CALL 314-374-8784 OR 314-932-7111


    Last year I gave a presentation at a local University to employers about the advantages of employing students from foreign countries, here in student visa status. The Director of the Career Center told me that local employers were afraid of the process involved in hiring them!


    To this I say Pshaw!!! Look at the untapped potential for a wonderful talented employee, who is willing and wanting to learn and be part of the employing company. Imagine that student has already passed several hurdles such as qualifying to enter a prestigious University, probably has a revealed a superior understanding of her subject and has demonstrated to University admission officers and professors at their college that she can match the best of any local talent! These students have probably passed several more exams in an effort to enter an American University! Does that not show grit and hard work – truly American as apple pie! Like the old E.F. Hutton ad said, “they earned it”.


    How to hire a student on an F-1 visa?

    • Do they have an OPT (Optional Practical Training) granted at the end of a course of academic education. If yes, Non STEM students can work up to 12 months and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students can work for up to 29 months for an employer.
    • STEM students have 2 bites at the H1B apple. STEM students can apply twice for an H1B visa while in OPT status and can stay employed for at least 6 more years with the employer, so the training is not wasted! 
    • The student should be in valid F-1 status
    • Proposed employment should relate to the student’s academic work
    • New Obama executive orders will expand and extend the use of OPT
    • CPT – Curricular Practical Training A student can work either part time or full time for an employer during the course of their study as either an employee, an intern (paid or unpaid), in a cooperative (co-op) educational experience, or as a practicum participation in the field of their major.
    • Full time CPT will reduce entitlement to OPT.

    This is a great way to test the waters.  There are many foreign students with experience who are at University in a Master’s program or even a second Bachelor’s degree.


    Caveat! Employ a student from an accredited University, please. 


    Nalini S Mahadevan, JD, MBA

    Contact: nsm@mlolaw.us


    Not intended as legal advice or meant to create an client attorney relationship!

    January 23, 2015
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