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International Student Information

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International students seeking post-graduation employment in the United States face some unique challenges. This webpage is intended to provide information about visa requirements, employment and job search issues unique to international students.

International Students at The University of Texas at Austin are strongly encouraged to access the advice and services of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Office and review the following three resources:

Employability Issues

Quite simply - it is difficult for employers to hire foreign nationals that do not have full work authorization. When there is a large pool of qualified candidates who already do possess full work authorization, there is no incentive for employers to consider additional candidates outside of that pool qualified and eligible candidates.

What about Optional Practical Training?

Upon completing their degrees, many international students wish to begin the Optional Practical Training (OPT) allowed by their student visa as a first step toward gaining full work authorization. However, there is very little incentive for an employer to offer OPT employment if there is little chance that the student will be able to secure an H1-B visa to allow them to work beyond the OPT period. Without a strong possibility that a candidate will be employable beyond the OPT period, many employers will be reluctant to invest time, energy and money training what will essentially be a temporary employee. Additionally, some employers are reluctant to hire international students because they fear international students will eventually want to return to their home countries. Employers do not want to invest time and money in training new hires only to have them leave in a year's time.

Securing an H1-B Visa

The H1-B visa is the most popular work visa. It allows the individual to work in the US for one to six additional years. Only 65,000 H1-B visas are awarded annually to Bachelor's-level graduates, 20,000 are awarded annually to Master's and Ph.D.-level graduates, and nearly all are awarded to individuals in fields where there is a shortage of skilled professionals (engineering, science, medicine, technology, etc.). Applications are taken each year starting on April 1. Some nonprofit, research and educational institutions can secure additional H1-B visas after the initial 85,000 have been awarded. In addition, citizens of Chile and Singapore have a special allocation of 6,800 H1-B visas and often have an easier time securing work authorization.

Hiring Complexities

The process of hiring international students is more complicated and less familiar to many employers than hiring US nationals or others with full work authorization. The process typically involves securing a work visa and that usually means: Hiring a lawyer that specializes in immigration; Obtaining approval from the Department of Labor; Petitioning the government for an H1-B Visa; and Paying fees of up to $7,000.

Perceived and Actual Communication/Language Issues

Strong communication skills are critical for prospective employees, particularly in communication-related fields. Employers are often concerned with international students' ability to communicate effectively with their clients and/or internal personnel.

Job Search Resources

Given the challenges international students face seeking employment in the US, here are some resources to consider.

UT International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) - Additional information and resources for international students at The University of Texas at Austin.

Foreign Labor Certification Data Center 
Location of the Online Wage Library for prevailing wage determinations, and the disclosure databases for the temporary and permanent programs.

H-1B Sponsors.com
 Free site that lists employers that have sponsored H1B visas in the past and allows you to post a resume.

Database of American Employers for International Professionals 
A fee-based site that lists companies that have sponsored H1-B visas in the following areas: Administration, business administration and management, computer science, education and research, engineering, languages, life and health sciences, math and physical sciences, and medicine.

Trovit Jobs A leading search engine for jobs in Europe and Latin America and currently operating in 38 countries.