Finding a job upon graduation is stressful enough for most seniors, but international students must keep in mind the details of employability laws before they even begin to seek employment in the United States.
For this reason, the WVU Office of International Students and Scholars will host a”Laws of Employability Seminar”at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Gold Ballroom of the Mountainlair. A reception in E. Moore Hall lounge will follow the presentation.
“Its very important for international students and scholars to know the laws of employability, because the rules are very complex, strict and they change all the time,”said Doina Jikich, coordinator of Immigration Services at the University.
According to Jikich,”in order for international students to obtain employment in the U.S. upon graduation, they must either obtain INS permission for a one-year practical training or find an employer willing to sponsor them for an H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is set aside for temporary work in specialty occupations allowing employment for up to six years. We encourage students to take advantages of their eligibility for practical training since this type of temporary employment allows them more flexibility within the first year.”
The H-1B visa, she added, is employer specific and requires a number of attestations through the Department of Labor before a petition is processed by the INS .
Jikich , along with Morgantown immigration attorney Gary Rich, will offer their expertise in the area of employability laws. They will also discuss several types of employment visas that are available for students and scholars, including F-1, J-1, H-1B,O-1 and Permanent Residence visas.
“In addition to job hunting, students also have to worry about the regulations affecting their immigration status and the conditions under which they can work for a U.S. company,”Jikich noted.”Many U.S. employers arent aware of the employability rules pertaining to foreign nationals and its in the direct interest of graduates to know the rules so they can sometimes inform employers.”
Temporary visas allow one to start employment with an U.S. employer for a limited amount of time. The most used temporary visa for students and scholars is the H-1 B visa which allows up to six years of work in a special area of occupation and requires a minimum of a bachelors degree. Foreign medical graduates seeking admission to engage in direct patient care must meet certain additional requirements to be eligible for H-1B status. Optional practical training is the most used type of employment by students who finish their studies in the U.S. It allows a student to work up to 12 months in the U.S.
Jikich has served as coordinator of Immigration Services in the Office of International Students and Scholars since 1990, and represents the University in petitions for temporary and permanent employment of foreign professionals with the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. State Department.. She consults with all WVU academic and administrative departments, including Human Resources and University Councils in regard to hiring of foreign nationals. She also serves as special immigration reference to Sen. John D. Rockefellers office.
WVU has approximately 1,200 international students and 240 scholars from all over the world.