Stay Back Options for students studying in the United States
Students look at the US as a study destination to give wings to their dreams and aspirations. As a student studying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the US education system , an ideal scenario would be to get a job as you graduate from campus. However, this will require planning and making use of opportunities to develop your skills and demonstrate your abilities.
The ideal way to prepare for job opportunities is to do an internship as part of your program. As a student, you are always on the lookout for opportunities to develop new skills and showcase your talent. Internships present a great opportunity to pick up new skills, understand more about the job of your interest and showcase your capabilities to your employer. It is important the employment that you seek after finishing your course must be directly related to your field of study. You will have 90 days to seek a job after graduation.
Optional Practical Training -OPT is a program that temporarily allows international students with an F1 Visa in the United States to work up to 12 months in an area related to their major field of study. F-1 visa students, on completing the first academic year, are eligible for OPT. OPT can be completed both before or after completing your studies, but it’s important to remember that you are only allowed to work 12 months total.
International students, who are F-1 visa holders, and have completed degrees in certain fields namely, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are eligible to apply for a 24-month extension for post-graduation completion of OPT employment.
If you’re an F-1 student, you get US work rights via Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work in paid or unpaid internships, practicum or cooperative (co-op) education program under the CPT employment. CPT relates to your study as a requirement of your major course or program of study. If not any of the aforementioned, it should lead towards a course credit. A select list of certain employers participates in the CPT. On the other hand, OPT program is not specific to any employer and allows the student to work – irrespective of a co-op or internship. There is no specific requirement to achieve as a course credit.
OPT can be completed before or after graduation. After 12 months, your OPT expires. At this point you need to switch to an employer-sponsored visa. H1B visa, is the most common employer-sponsored visa for the US and is corresponding to a specific job. It requires you to be sponsored and recruited by an employer. It is based on the lottery and it requires your employer to submit your application to the US lottery that takes place every April. This happens only once a year and therefore it is important that the employer does not miss the deadline or you will need to wait for another year.
Only 85,000 visas are issued each year. However, there is a huge gap between demand and supply. Due to the large number of applications, demand is greater than the supply. While it may vary, in any year, between 30% and 50% of applicants receive a visa, which typically becomes effective four or five months after the lottery. H1B visa is critical for being eligible to work in the US , if one does or has another visa like the OPT . This may mean that unless you have the appropriate visa you will need to be in your home country. Your H1B visa also provides entry into the U.S.
H1B visas are awarded by lottery are typically associated with skilled, “specialty occupations” like those in science, accounting, data analytics, medicine, specialized product development, computer science, and engineering.
You can explore the option of non- lottery H1B if you’re seeking employment with a nonprofit. The eligible non -profit can be any entity -educational, research orientation or any company. Of course, to be eligible for permanent residency in US, one needs to start the process of getting an American Green Card, a step towards becoming a US citizen.
Students can get in touch with our Relationships team should you require more information regarding these work options for international students.