For an employer hiring a new employee, the main goal is to hire the best person for the job. But for international students, it can be more complicated. In some cases, employers are involved with national security issues (defense contractors or U.S. government jobs) and specify that they will only interview U.S. citizens or law- ful permanent residents. However, if an employer is not involved with this type of work or does not specify who is eligible to apply, you, as an international candidate in nonimmigrant status, are eligible to apply for the job.
CURRICUL AR PRACTIC AL
• CPT is an off-campus employment option available to international strudents (F-1 visa holders) when the training (i.e. an internship) is considered to be an integral part of the established curriculum and directly related to the student’s major area of study. “Training” referes to paid or unpaid internships or employment. According to immigration regulations, CPT may be an internship, practicum, or other work experience that is required for a degree program (as
defined in the course catalogue) or for which course credit is awarded.
• Work must be related to your major field of study and an integral part of your degree program.
• Must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year.
OPTIONS FOR CPT
• Receive credits AND compensation – you must register your internship in ArtWorks
• Receive credits and NO compensation – you must register your internship in ArtWorks
• Note: Unpaid internships are not permitted under any circumstances.
HOW TO APPLY FOR CPT
• You must make an appointment with the Office of International Student Services and bring the
• All previous and current copies of your I-20 form.
• Copies of your passport, visa, and I-94 card.
• Internship packet filled out with all of the required signatures, it can be picked up in the Registrar’s Office.
• A copy of the job offer letter you received from your employer. The job offer letter must be on the company’s letterhead and contain the following information: the student’s name, the company’s name, a statement of the offer, the number of hours to be worked (or full or part time specified), and the beginning and end of the employment.
• You may not begin CPT until the CPT start date recorded on the CPT-endorsed I-20.
• When looking for jobs/internships, consider:
• International companies – They often desire individuals with language skills, respect for diversity, and a knowledge of overseas economies.
• Companies that have previously sponsored H-1B visas – They are familiar with and have successfully completed the hiring process before.
• Medium and small companies – although they are not large companies, they often have openings for international students and shouldn’t be discounted.
SELLING YOUR SKILLS
• Focus on your special skills and qualifications for the job. This is essential to the employer. Do your materials sell you in a way that sets you appart from the competition? Remember that, as an international student, you actually have certain advantages over US students.
• You have spent several years living and studying in a foreign culture (The U.S.) By doing so, you have already demonstrated how adaptable you are to new environments. An employer wants to hire someone who will adapt well in a new job environment.
• You are statistically one of the very few people from your country who uprooted themselves to come to the U.S. to further their education. This means that you know how to take initiative. U.S. employers like employees who take initiative.
• If your native language is not English, you have successfully pursued an educational program in a foreign language. This means at least two things:
• If the organization has branches or offices overseas, you may be useful because you have demonstrated your ability to perform successfully in more than one language.
• You probably had to work harder than native speakers of English to be successful in your academic program. Therefore, you have demonstrated that you can work under adverse conditions and that you are persistent in working towards goals you have set for yourself.
• In your cover letter and resume and later in your interview, take the opportunity to emphasize these characteristics that are highly regarded in the culture of the North American workplace
• Being invited for an interview is great news, as it means that the employer has decided from your resume and cover letter that you meet the criteria for the position. The interview is an opportunity for the employer to further assess your fit to the position, as well as to get to know you as a potential colleague. Hence, the goal of the interview is for you to highlight your strengths and your fit to the position you are interested in. The RISD Career Center offers
advice, resources and tips on interviewing that will help you prepare for interviews in the U.S. workplace.
• On Immigration and visa-related questions for an interview, follow these guidelines:
• The H-1B visa sponsorship should not be one of the first topics addressed during a meeting or interview.
• Instead, prove to an employer that you are the best person for the job.
• The topic of H-1B visas should be addressed only after an offer is made or if the employer brings it up.
• Go to your interview with some knowledge of your legal options:
• Nonimmigrant candidates have several options to legally work in the US F-1 and J-1 students, for example, can work legally under Practical or Academic Training provisions. Many nonimmigrants are eligible to obtain H-1B status, which permits temporary professional employment for up to six years. If you know your eligibility and exactly what is
involved in getting practical training authorization or H-1B status, you will be able to say confidently in the interview that the visa matters can be worked out.
• If your interviewer asks about your visa and work eligibility, answer directly and honestly – If your interview is coming to a close and the visa issue has not been mentioned yet, it is a good idea for you to bring it up casually. You can say: “I would like to mention that I am on a student visa and in the process of obtaining employment authorization (Curricular/Optional Practical Training (F-1) or Academic Training (J-1)) My international student adviser has explained my legal options and the procedures that exist for my lawful current and future employment.
WHAT IS THE EMPLOYER PROCESS FOR HIRING INTERNATIONAL CANDIDATES?
• Petition the government for a visa.
• Gain approval from the Labor Department
• Obtain the necessary legal counsel
• Fund the process.
• Office of International Student Services (OISS)
• United States Citizenship & Immigration Services
(USCIS) “Services and Benefits” section
• Visa Services (from the U.S. State Department)
• Foreignborn.com – Resources for entering and
living in the U.S. http://www.foreignborn.com
• InternationalStudent.com – Check out the “Job
• American Immigration Network, Inc. – Offers Free
Information and Services for Fees
• H1 Visa Jobs.com – Contains information about
organizations that sponsor H-1B visas.
• OverseasJobs.com – International job database