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Employing Nonimmigrant Students

Millions of people come to the United States for the excellent education opportunities that are available. Universities are well-known for welcoming these students, but it is important that the educational institutions are aware of any work restrictions that are in place based on their visa status. Most students need to have some type of employment either for work-study, or to help pay for expenses. Universities can help make employment arrangements, but only when approved by the specific student visa involved.

F-1 Student Visa

Any student attending an accredited educational institution (including colleges, universities, conservatories, and seminaries) on an F-1 visa may accept employment, with certain restrictions. First, the student is limited to ‘on-campus’ employment for their first year of their studies. Beyond the first year, they can accept off-campus employment as long as it is part of either curricular practical training, optional practical training, or a practical training extension.

J-1 Student Visa

Students on a J-1 visa can qualify for employment only after the educational institution evaluates the desired employment opportunity based on the educational goals of the student. The student can obtain employment on the campus of the school for up to 20 hours per week while taking courses, and full time throughout the summer. On-Campus employment must also end once the academic program in which the student is enrolled has been completed.

Off-campus employment is only permitted for students who experience some type of unforeseen economic situation that requires them to earn money. The situation must be serious, and must have only begun after getting the J-1 visa. In these situations, students are permitted to work more than 20 hours per week total (on and off campus) during the school year.

M-1 Student Visa

M-1 visa holders are generally not permitted to work while completing their studies. If they have any spouse or children who have come to the country with them, they are also prohibited from working. The exception to this is when the student needs to complete a practical work-study program as part of their education. In this case, the student must complete Form I-20 ID (and have it properly endorsed by a designated student officer). They must also complete Form I-765 and I-539, and have them submitted to the proper department of state offices.

Offering Help in Attaining Work Approval

Universities that have high numbers of students in attendance who are using visa programs can benefit greatly from having an immigration attorney available to help with these often complicated issues. If the proper forms and other requirements aren’t followed, it can cause immigration issues for the students, and problems for the schools as well. Contact FordMurray today to learn how we can help.