When an international student comes to the US he comes here with two motives. One is to study and the other one is to get a job and settle here. Since he is a non-immigrant and international student he has to face choices once he completes his studies and regarding future employment. He comes here on a student visa F-1 and later if he wants to take up a job then he will be applying for OPT which is optional practical training. If he does not want a job he is free to return to his home country and put his skills to better use. However, maximum students look for job opportunity to work in the United States.
We will be giving you first an overview of the employment options that are available to the F-1 student who has just graduated or completed graduation and also, we will be addressing the possibility of obtaining a work permit and the transition.
F1 to OPT transition
The moment the F1 student finishes his graduation then he must know what is OPT and how the students who are studying with an F1 visa are eligible to seek opt employmentor work in the US on an OPT visa program. This program helps the student to apply the knowledge that he/she has gained through the course by practical work experience. It can be full or part time and anywhere in the US and must be directly related to the field of study.
The F-1 student may be applying for OPT to use during the vacation periods that is during the academic year or after completing the studies. Sometimes even the student who is pursuing master or Ph.D. can submit a thesis or a dissertation requirement and immediately apply for opt upon the completion. To be eligible for the OPT, the student must be enrolled for a full course of study for one year at least and the authorization can take up to 90 days to come by.
Thus the work can commence only after BCIS approves the application. Once the student finishes his/her duration of OPT then he/she may no longer stay in the US without a visa status change. The common step that the students take here is to change his/her status to H-1B the moment they get an h1b visa sponsorship jobsthus converting from F-1 to OPT and then to H-1B visa status.
OPT to H-1B transition
Students who come here to study in the US come with a goal of working here after they complete their degrees. The H-1B was primarily designed so as to help the F1 students to get jobs. There is also a separate H-1B quota, especially for international students. Most of the students first use the OPT program as an interim measure as then go for H-1B but some F-1 students are lucky enough and change their status directly from a student to H-1B by getting suitable h1b visa jobswith companies.
Since the H-1B visa is used to only give a temporary worker status to the person who is a professional and holds a four-year degree or the equivalent in the experience. The status of an H-1B is initially granted for only 3 years and can be extended up to six years. If the person wishes to change the employer, then the new employer must file a new petition on behalf of him. The employee may then start working for a new employer as soon as the new employer has successfully filed their petition and received by the USCIS.
Every year a few hundred and thousands of International students line up to go to the US and the numbers are only increasing day by day in the US and at some point, they are asked about their future and must have fair ideas as to what they want to do the day they graduate. After graduating finding a job is the topmost priority for most of them and it is not an easy process for international students nowadays. The US President has also planned to scrap the OPT system but we all know that they are just rumors with no fire. Also, the problem which they face of staying in the U.S. after their graduation on an F-1 visa without a job is like having a driver with no car to run. So, we are here to help you out to get the best opt employment in the US and how to master the niche skills that will help you to get an H-1B job easily on transiting. You must meanwhile register on the main job providing sites and update your resume and skills for all the latest job alerts.
Here are a few tips for all you people out there struggling to get an opt job.
1) Resume: The most important part where these two or three pages will decide whether your resume is going inside the company or not. Yes! This is said to be the most important thing that is going to shape all your future years. Be sure to mention all your top skills briefly and bullet all the main points. The need for having a crisp resume is a must as well as the interviewer will only spend few seconds scrutinizing your resume and deciding whether you are the right fit. Undergo proper OPT training for any technical skills if you feel you lag something as there are many providers who provide training as well as a job.
2) Networking: This refers to finding out more from your seniors and peers as to how to get the best jobs in the market. You must go and ask your seniors who are already placed for referring you to jobs in the companies that they work for. Also, knowing which skills are currently in demand is most important and proper training and certification must be taken. You can also get the job skills for international students with volunteer work.
3) Applying for jobs: Now the simple point to be noted here is not job is going to come knocking to you in the US. You will not be having campus placements where companies will visit the campus and recruit students even if you are studying in an ivy league university. You must apply for opt jobs on portals and wait to get shortlisted for further interviews. Some companies do visit the campuses but they only pick some opt resumes and go but do not conduct any interviews on the campus. If the student matches the profile then they may call them for an interview.
4) Location based jobs: You can look out for location based jobs that are in states such as New York, Texas and California as it has good reputation of being friendly and presence of more number of immigrants. Also, the most important part here is to apply for city or location specific jobs to get maximum calls and offers. You can also relocate to the places where more number of recruitments are happening and apply for jobs.
5) Internship: Choosing to do an internship is the best thing as there are plenty of companies out there who are recruiting international students as they can pay less when compared to a US national. If the student does well then there are chances of them getting absorbed too in the same company in a permanent position.
6) Go and speak to the career planner or the career cell in your university: All top universities have a dedicated student centers or career cells. You must approach them to help you to find a job once you finish your graduation. They will also help you to connect with the alumni who will help you to network and fetch jobs. Many may refer you for job interviews at the companies they work for.
7) Apply for OPT: This is the first thing that the student needs to do if he wants to stay back in the US and work. OPT for f1 students is available for those who apply for opt work permit. This is the best opportunity that he/she can utilize as it gives them practical training in the same field as their study. For STEM OPT you can work up to 29 months and for non-STEM, you can work up to 12 months. You also get paid for doing a job and the companies need not file for any extra visa or money to employ you and this is the best way for many companies to employ foreign students. A small part of a fee may be charged in case you want to get trained too.
The above are some sure shot ways of getting placed and getting optional practical training jobs in the US. Keep the above points in mind and make your career moves.