Hiring Augustana International Students

What are the Benefits of Hiring International Students?

International students bring a variety of benefits to an organization such as:

  • Cross-cultural competencies and multiple language skills to your organization.
  • Diversity and introduce new perspectives for problem-solving and approaches to business.
  • Maturity, flexibility, dedication and can share business practices for other cultures, helping your organization adapt to new global challenges.
  • Outstanding characteristics that are appealing to top employers, such as knowledge of other cultures, multiple language capabilities and the ability to contribute in a team-centered environment.
  • High-quality skills such as leadership, independence and ability to adapt to change.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Hiring International Students as Interns

Curricular Practical Training, known as CPT, is work authorization that allows international students to accept employment that is directly related to their academic program. There is no cost to the student or employer for CPT and processing and approval time for CPT is 10 business days.

Employer role: Provide the student with a Letter of Employment that verifies the following points…

  • Job title
  • Beginning and ending dates of employment
  • Wage/salary being paid
  • Number of hours per week to be worked
  • Place of employment
  • Brief description of work

Student role: Once an internship has been offered, students must schedule an appointment with the Career Development Office to complete the CPT work authorization paperwork. According to U.S. immigration regulations, students engaging in part-time (during the academic year) or full-time (during the summer) work must register the internship for credit.

To meet CPT eligibility requirements, international students must:

  • Have completed one year (academic year) as a full-time student at Augustana.
  • Be in good academic standing with the college.
  • Register the experience for .25 or more credits and obtain a Letter of Employment from the organization.
  • Show proof of authorization: The employer and dates for which the student is authorized to work will appear on the student’s form I-20 (certificate of eligibility). Students cannot begin work before the start date on the form I-20, or continue working after the end date. That said, CPT authorization may be renewable if the student continues to be eligible.

Optional Practical Training (OPT): Hiring International Students as Full-Time Employees after Graduation

Optional Practical Training, known as OPT, allows students to gain practical experience and training in a field directly related to their major area of study after graduating from Augustana.

  • Cost and processing time: There is no cost to the employer. Once an application has been submitted to USCIS, the processing time for approval takes an average of 60-90 days; therefore students are encouraged to apply as early as 90 days prior to graduation.
  • Duration: Students are eligible for up to 12 months of employment under OPT. Those whose majors are given the STEM designation may be eligible for an extension of their employment authorization for an additional two years if the employer is e-verified.
  • Employer role: Applying for OPT is solely the responsibility of the student and requires no action on the part of the hiring organization. OPT can be granted to the student with or without an offer of employment.
  • Student role: Obtaining OPT work authorization is a two-step process. The student first needs to receive an endorsement from the Career Development staff for OPT authorization. Upon receiving this endorsement, the student is then required to submit his/her application, required fee ($410) and the updated I-20 issued by Career Development to USCIS (U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services) for approval.
  • Proof of authorization: Students on OPT will receive an employment authorization document or EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card. USCIS issues the EAD, which specifies the dates of authorized employment. Students may not begin working until they have received their EAD and the start date listed on the card has been reached.

Proof of Work Authorization (Form I-9)

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requires that anyone hired by a U.S. employer after November 6, 1986, complete an I-9 form and present proof of U.S. citizenship, permanent residence status or a valid passport along with a USCIS document showing that employment has been authorized.

Students who have been authorized to engage in CPT will present USCIS form I-20 with a notation indicating the dates during which CPT has been authorized. Those students who have been authorized for OPT will have an EAD card issued by USCIS. This laminated card will include the individual’s photograph and provide additional proof of work authorization.