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Legal employment opportunities for international students living in NYC

December 14, 2022 | By Roomrs

 

International students are individuals who gain entry into the United States by way of an F1 visa. An F1 visa holder is strictly in the US to get an education, but there are opportunities for part-time employment. As an international student interested in employment, you must be aware of all the restrictions and requirements of your visa.

 

There are a few categories of employment you can look into as an international student, the most simplistic and available of which is on-campus employment.

On-campus employment

As an F1 student, it is well within all guidelines and regulations to apply for employment on campus. However, the one downfall to this is that on-campus employment is extremely limited. There may be cases where you put in an application in hopes of securing a position, but they are unable to place you in any department. Even if you can secure a job on campus, you’ll be paid minimum wage at best. Additionally, while school is in session you can only work a maximum of 20 hours a week. During the winter and summer months, you can work full-time, but only if you are enrolled in classes for the following semester.

 

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OPT- Optional Practical Training

OPT is a form of off-campus employment permitted to graduating students. In some cases, you can apply for OPT before graduating, but you must have been enrolled in your program for a minimum of 9 months. More so, OPT requires an application process and is not guaranteed. Effective October 2nd, 2020, the fee for all application are $550; and you can not begin employment until your application has been approved (which can take up to 90 days), and you receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Make sure during this process you work closely with your school's International Student Office and student advisor, as they can guide you correctly and answer all questions you may have.

 

Requirements differ if you are seeking OPT before or after the completion of your degree.

 

OPT requirements before completing your degree include the following:

 

  • Enrolled as a full time student
  • Can’t work more than 20 hours a week during the semester
  • Can work full time during summer and winter breaks (as long as you plan on returning to school the following semester as a full time student)

 

OPT requirements after completing your degree include the following:

 

  • OPT work must be full time
  • After completing your degree, all intended OPT work must be completed within the span of 14 months
  • If you plan on applying for OPT, the USCIS must receive your application before you have completed your degree.

CPT- Curricular Practical Training

This is an employment option for students whose practical training is a core part of their program of study. To be able to qualify, the work you’re requesting must be a degree requirement or something you receive academic credit for. However, you can still get paid for work done while on CPT. You need authorization from your school's International Student Office, as well as the USCIS.

 

Eligibility for CPT includes the following:

 

  • Full time enrollment in school for at least one year on an F1 visa
  • The employment must be a core part of your program or something in which you receive academic credit
  • You need to have a job offer before being able to qualify- and before even submitting your CPT authorization request
  • The job you’re being offered has to be in your field of study

 

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Severe Economic Hardship

 

If a student is experiencing some form of economic hardship, they may be granted permission to seek part-time employment. During the months school is in session, they can only work up to 20 hours a week, but during winter and summer breaks employment can be full time.

 

Below is a list of examples in which applying for economic hardship would be valid:

 

  • Having on-campus employment- and then losing it with no fault on the part of the student
  • if there have been substantial fluctuations in your countries standard currency or the exchange rate to the US dollar
  • An increase in tuition or other living expenses (such as rent)
  • Unexpected changes in finances of the person who is supporting the student while they’re in school
  • Having to pay medical bills or some other unexpected expenses

 

To be eligible for severe economic hardship, the student must have done the following:

 

  • Have valid F1 status for at least 9 months (one academic year)
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Be able to show evidence of said economic hardship – and prove it was due to unforeseen circumstances
  • Attempt to secure on-campus housing- and show that they were unsuccessful due to it being unavailable or insufficient

 

Although the process of securing employment for international students is difficult, Roomrs aims to make living easy. Check out Roomrs if you’re an international student looking for an alternative to traditional apartment rentals.

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