Hiring International Students
Organizations today are connected globally, and those who hire international students have a competitive advantage. International students bring great value to any organization and contribute to its success in many ways. International Engineering and Computer Science students in particular help increase the talent pool in an in-demand labor market.
There are misconceptions about hiring international students. In reality, it is not much different than hiring a U.S. Citizen. The information provided below can help to clarify the aspects of hiring international students and can help your organization with regard to U.S. immigration policies.
CPT & OPT
- International students are authorized by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to work under CPT (Curricular Practical Training) for internships during during the course of their studies and also OPT (Optional Practical Training) for internships and jobs after completion of their degrees.
- In terms of process and cost, students own the responsibility of completing the paperwork and submitting it to USCIS. In OPT cases, employers provide details on how their positions will train students for career advancement.
- There is no need for employers to apply for or sponsor any visas during CPT and OPT periods.
International Hiring FAQs
- International students do not require visa sponsorship to participate in U.S. internships.
- All international students who are enrolled full-time in degree-seeking programs are eligible to work in internships off-campus after their first year of completed UIC coursework.
- Exception: Undergraduate and graduate students who are on academic probation may not apply for CPT during the academic year, but they may apply for CPT for a summer internship.
- Most F-1 visa status students qualify to work through acceptance of Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
- Work authorization for CPT is issued/sponsored by UIC.
- Hiring an international student for an internship through CPT requires the employer to complete page three of the CPT application form. The only other requirement from the employer is to fill out a brief evaluation of the intern’s performance at the end of their internship.
- There are no costs associated with CPT for the employer when hiring an international student for an internship through CPT.
Full-time vs. Part-time:
- International students can work full-time (40 hours per week) during the summer months on internships.
- International students can work part-time (20 hours per week) during the academic year.
- International students have at least 12 months of U.S. work authorization after graduation once they have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students are eligible for 24 month OPT extensions.
- The STEM extensions allow international students to work for up to 36 months (3 years) upon completion of their degree.
- During this period, employers do not need to secure work authorization through USCIS.
- International students are responsible for completing most of the necessary OPT paperwork.
- There are no extra costs for the employer who hires an international student on OPT.
- New perspectives and problem solving skills.
- Motivated, adaptable, and have demonstrated perseverance.
- Courage to tackle the unknown and excel in diverse workplaces.
- Proficient in foreign languages and have knowledge of the markets, business practices, and cultures of other countries.
We welcome any employer to contact the UIC Engineering Career Center at any time with questions about how to hire an international student for an internship or full-time position.
In addition to the Engineering Career Center, at UIC we also have a dedicated Office of International Services (OIS) that provides an array of essential services and programs to assist international students:
- OIS provides immigration rules and regulations counseling and advising to international students, faculty, staff and scholars.
- OIS facilitates the transition of international students, faculty, staff and scholars to life at UIC and the U.S. by providing continuous services aimed at assisting in the assimilation process.
- OIS provides regular service hours, walk-in hours, and OPT workshops to UIC international students.