Easy Guide to Hiring Foreign Graduates

This guide is provided by the McCandlish Holton Immigration Practice Group


Each year, aproximately 4,000 students from countries other than the United States are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Iowa.

Many of these students seek to gain experience in the workplace in the United States, either by working as interns during their college enrollment, or by seeking full-time employment upon graduation. Because of the special abilities and cultural experiences they possess, international students can be ideally suited for employment within the American workforce, and the Pomerantz Career Center encourages prospective employers to consider them carefully when recruiting.

Advantages of hiring international students include:

  • New perspectives and problem-solving skills
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency- the ability to value, respect and learn from diversity. Demonstrate openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity and excel in diverse workplaces (Source)
  • Proficient in different languages and have knowledge of the markets, business practices, and cultures of other countries
  • Courage to tackle the unknown and adapt to new environments
  • And STEM student can be especially helpful to small businesses! (Source)

Hiring one of our highly qualified international students need not be burdensome, as immigration laws relating to the most common immigration statuses of international students (F-1 and J-1) allow the University to authorize employment related to study. For example,

most international students may undertake internships during their studies merely by registering with the Pomerantz Career Center and receiving Curricular Practical Training (CPT) from the University's Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Graduating international students who are in F-1 status are typically eligible for 12 months of job-related, full-time employment through Optional Practical Training (OPT). The student applies for this permission from the Department of Homeland Security and is issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which the employer can use to verify employment eligibility.

Students do not need a job offer for OPT. The small percentage of international students who are in J-1 immigration status may receive 18 months of Academic Training; a specific job offer is required for this permission, which is granted by ISSS.

For more information on hiring international students and graduates, please contact the Pomerantz Career Center at 319-335-1023 or the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at 319-335-0335.

A business may want to hire a foreign national in the U.S. In such events, the business should adhere to certain processes that are mostly administered by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well the U.S. Department of Labor. This process is what is known as employment sponsorship. The exact details of the process will vary, depending on a number of factors, including the skill level of the foreign national, the type of visa, and the terms of employment.

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