Employment Opportunities for Young Graduates
 

If you are finishing graduation and is about to receive your diploma, logically you would wish to get a job and stay on in US for some more time. You feel at a disadvantage because you are not a U.S. citizen or even a green card holder. Still you could navigate through the immigration laws and procedures. There are a number of options you could stay on until you get a strong hold in US and are listed below:

Employment through Optional Practical Training

Foreign students completing associate, bachelors, masters or doctorate degrees in F-1 student status are eligible to receive permission from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to be employed for a period of one year. under Optional Practical Training. Practical training after completion of studies is one-time option. If you use a one-year period of practical training after completion of your degree, you cannot obtain another period of practical training upon completion of another degree.
For this purpose, you must apply to your Designated School Official (DSO) or foreign student advisor at your university. You may apply for practical training at any time prior to the completion of your studies or within 60 days thereafter. Ideally, you should apply as early as possible in form I-538 along with your current I-20 ID in order to begin your employment immediately after you have completed your studies. The DSO will endorse your I-20 ID if he recommends practical training in your major field of study. Only when INS issues you an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may you begin employment.

Curricular Practical Training

There are a number of other work options available for students such as work-study and on-campus employment. One such option is called Curricular Practical Training. INS requires students who are authorized for one year or more of curricular training to forfeit all optional practical training benefits.. However, students who engage in less than one year of curricular training may still qualify for one year of Optional Practical Training. Also, the time spent in part-time curricular training is not counted as time spent in full-time curricular training for this purpose.

Jobs with H1-B

If your job requires that you possess a college degree, you may be eligible to change your status from F-1 practical training to H-1B temporary working status in 30 to 60 days under "Specialty Occupations". It is highly desirable to apply for H-1B status as soon as possible. If your EAD expires before your application for a change of status is approved, your permission to be employed terminates immediately. Initially H-1B visa is valid for 3 years.
Specialty occupations include almost any job for which a university diploma, or its equivalent, in a specific field is a prerequisite for employment. Accountants, architects, attorneys, many types of business managers, computer programmers, dentists, engineers, physicians, systems analysts, and various types of business, medical and scientific workers may qualify for H-1B status. To achieve H-1B status, you must first obtain an appropriate offer of temporary employment from an employer.

Your employer must follow the following three-step procedure:

  • Obtain the approval of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the regional office of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
  • Obtain the approval of H-1B petition from the INS.
  • If you are maintaining legal nonimmigrant status in the U.S., your employer may request that the INS change your status to H-1B. However, if you exit the U.S. after obtaining H-1B status, you must obtain an H-1B visa abroad in order to return to the U.S. There is no need for you to apply for H-1B visa at a consulate outside US, unless you have violated or overstayed your nonimmigrant Your employment in support of an H-1B petition may be either full- time or part-time. You may receive authorization to work for two or more employers in H-1B status simultaneously.

Prior to the expiration of the three-year period, you may apply to extend your stay for an additional three years. At the end of the six year period, no further extensions of H-1B status are permitted.
Extensions after six years are possible r for H-1B holders who are unable to adjust their status in the U.S. because of per-country quotas.

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