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Hiring International Students

It is important to be knowledgeable about hiring international students and alumni.


Are International Students Legally Eligible to Work?

YES! Federal regulations permit the employment of international students on F/1 (foreign student) and J/1 (exchange visitor student) visas within certain limits.
Students in one of these statuses may work off-campus after completing one academic year of full time study and obtaining the proper authorization from their school’s international student advisor or the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). The BCIS defines practical training as employment related to the student’s course of study.

  • Students obtain authorization for curricular practical training (CPT), which qualifies for cooperative education, from the international student advisor at their school. The international student advisor will provide the student with a new SEVIS I-20 that reflects the curricular practical training. Employers use this and the student’s passport as verification documents for the I-9.
  • Optional practical training (OPT) permission is obtained from the BCIS upon recommendation of the international student advisor. F/1 students who obtain optional practical training permission from the BCIS will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which contains a photograph of the student, the dates of validity and the type of employment authorized. Students use this card with the passport for I-9 verification.
  • Students on J-1 visas have somewhat different regulations regarding the length of their visas, the conditions under which they can work and what they may do on completion of their visas. Students on J-1 visas must have the written permission of their program sponsor (the university or agency that wrote their DS-2019 form) to engage in any type of employment but do not need to obtain an EAD card from INS.

How Long Can Students Work?

Students may work on co-op for whatever period of time their academic programs designate. This can be as short as one term and as long as five terms.
Students may take their optional practical training (OPT) as part-time work while school is in session and/or full-time work during their annual vacation, at completion of coursework or upon graduation. Students may work only 20 hours a week if they have part-time authorization and only 40 hours per week for full-time authorization.
Students on J-1 visas may engage in up to a total of eighteen months of academic training during their studies and after they graduate.
Taxes. IRS Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens available at

What Does an Employer Have to Do?

Employers are required to do nothing but make an offer of employment to the students!
All paperwork is handled by the student and RIT’s International Student Services. Students are instructed to bring the proper verification documents to the company personnel office when they begin their employment. Employers will note that each period of employment must be authorized and that students who return to the same employer for several co-op positions must be reauthorized for each one.

International Student Services, 585.475.6943, is happy to discuss regulations with employers.

Can the International Graduate Continue Working After They’ve Completed Practical Training?

Many international students are hired upon completion of their studies for long term employment in the United States. A student who has completed the minimum of a bachelor’s degree and who is entering professional level employment is eligible for an H/1B (temporary worker) visa. This will allow the graduate to work in the United States for six years.

What About Taxes?

F/1 and J/1 students are expected to pay federal, state and local income taxes on all income they earn in the United States. These students are exempt from FICA.

Why Hire an International Student?

Globalization of the workplace, the increased demand for students graduating from college particularly in technical fields, and diversity are some of the issues employers face in the coming decade. International students offer employers a wide range of skills and abilities:
• They are multilingual
• Have the courage to tackle the unknown
• Can work with and within a diverse population and succeed
• Are considered to be among the brightest and most highly motivated people from their home countries
• Have technical expertise

Obtaining permission for international students to work in the US is not as difficult as many employers have been led to believe. We urge you to seriously consider this population as potential employees. The diversity of their backgrounds and talents can only serve to enhance your organization.

All job postings are accepted with the understanding that the employing organization gives fair and open consideration to all applicants for employment regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, physical handicap, sexual orientation, or status as a disabled veteran or veteran of the wars including Vietnam. It is also agreed that students and graduates will be accepted and assigned to jobs and otherwise treated without regard to the factors identified above.

What You Need to Know About Work Authorizations

The Immigration  Reform and Control  Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate  with  respect to hiring,  firing,  or  recruitment  or referral  for a fee, based upon an individual's  citizenship  or immigration  status. The law prohibits  employers from hiring only U.S. citizens  or lawful permanent  residents  unless required  to do so by law, regulation or government  contract. Employers may not refuse to accept  lawful documentation  that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional  documentation  beyond what is legally required,  when verifying employment eligibility  (i.e., completing  the Department  of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-­‐9), based on the  employee's national origin  or citizenship status.

Please visit our Work Authorization Decision Tree (PDF) to help you understand everything a bit better!

International Student Enrollment Data

If you are interested in the number of international students from a specific country, visit RIT International Student Services page for the latest info.

Expectations for all Job Postings and Recruiting Activity

The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits citizenship status and national origin discrimination with respect to hiring, termination, and recruiting or referring for a fee.8 U.S.C §1324(a)(1)(B).

Employers may not treat individuals differently because they are, or not, U.S. citizens or work authorized individuals. U.S. citizens, asylees, refugees, recent permanent residents and temporary residents are protected from citizenship status discrimination. Employers may not reject valid employment eligibility documents or require more or different documents on the basis of a person's national origin or citizenship status.

Any postings which require U.S. citizenship only will be accepted if your organization is required by law, regulation, executive order, or government contract to do so.

EOE Statement

All job postings are accepted with the understanding that the employing organization gives fair and open consideration to all applicants for employment regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, marital status, physical handicap, sexual preference, or status as a disabled veteran of the wars including Vietnam. It is also agreed that students and graduates will be accepted and assigned to jobs and otherwise treated without regard to the factors identified above.

Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice

Please Note: we adhere to National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Offer Guidelines and Principles for Ethical Professional Practice