Many employers have questions about the kind of work authorization students or alumni need to work for their companies. The information below answers some of these common questions.
Who is Authorized to Work?
Individuals under the following categories are authorized to work in the United States
- U.S. Citizens
- Permanent U.S. Residents
- DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)
Limiting employment to U.S. Citizens is only appropriate when citizenship is required by law, regulation or government contract. The Immigration Reform and Control Actstates:
[...] employers with four or more employees may not:
- Discriminate because of national origin against U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and authorized aliens. (Employers of 15 or more employees should note that the ban on national origin discrimination against any individual under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 continues to apply.)
- Discriminate because of citizenship status against U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and the following classes of aliens with work authorization: permanent residents, refugees, and asylees.
International students can obtain work authorization upon receiving an offer of employment for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or after graduation for Occupational Practical Training (OPT). Employer Sponsorship is not required as part of the CPT and OPT processes. The work must be related to the student’s course of study. Students can participate in internships and co-ops (CPT) while in school and alumni can work for an extended period of time (12 to 29 months) after graduation through OPT. There are few restrictions and employers will have to follow some simple steps in the hiring process. Thousands of international students are employed across the U.S. and bring their talent and cultural diversity to their employers. For more information about Practical Training, visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) government website.
H-1B Visa Status
Employer sponsorship is required to hire or maintain the employment of an international student for a longer period (up to 6 years) of time. This sponsorship can be initiated immediately after graduation or after an employee completes their OPT.
For more information, see the following external links:
- CPT and OPT Information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)
- Students and Employment: Authorization Information (uscis.gov)
- Foreign Students: I-9 Information (uscis.gov)
In light of new policy changes, here’s what you need to know about DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA): Recipients who have an employment authorization document (EAD) can work until they expire.