UNL Career Services and International Student and Scholar Services address common questions about employment of international students and have produced an Overview of Options in Hiring International Students that can be provided to employers.

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International Students

Working On-Campus

Many on-campus opportunities provide valuable work experience and generally do not require any special approval. On campus jobs are listed in Husker Hire Link, job boards, on campus jobs, or through departments.

What are graduate assistantships?
Graduate Assistantships (GAs) are awarded to qualified students to assist with financial responsibilities associated with full-time enrollment in graduate school. Graduate assistants are generally awarded a tuition waiver and monthly stipend. Graduate assistantships might be available through academic or other campus departments. If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies web site.

What is work-study? Do I qualify?
Federal work-study is a part of the federal financial aid program available only to students who are U.S. citizens.

What about scholarships? Do I qualify?
Although most UNL scholarships are available to U.S. citizens only, International Student and Scholar Services and some UNL Colleges/Departments may have some scholarships available to international students.

Working Off-Campus

Depending upon your visa status, you may or may not be eligible to work off campus.

Volunteer experiences are generally permitted and provide opportunities to gain knowledge of a career field and specific skills. (For example, gain marketing skills through a charitable organization, tutor to elementary students, or translate for a human services organization.) Some long-term volunteer experiences are promoted through UNL Career Services as non-paid internships. Organizations cannot hire an international student as an unpaid intern or volunteer if they generally would pay a U.S. citizen to do the same work.

Internships and cooperative education experiences (Curricular Practical Training or Academic Training) are permitted with some additional documentation. These experiences permit students to be employed in their major field of study during the course of their academic program. Such training must be an integral part of an established curriculum and must comply with immigration regulations.

Post-Graduation Employment

Optional Practical Training enables an employer to hire an international student after graduation for work related to their course of study. Authorization is granted by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (CIS). Employers also have the option to petition for an H-1B visa (authorizing 1-6 years additional work in the U.S.).

Do U.S. employers hire international students?
Yes and no. Most employers can be classified into four categories:
  • Those who hire international students because they have international business.
  • Those who hire international students for positions for which they cannot find qualified U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • Those who only hire U.S. citizens or permanent residents because they do not wish to sponsor international students for H-1B visas.
  • Those who are unable to hire international students due to their relationship with the federal government (i.e. federal government agencies and contractors).

If an employer is open to hiring an international student, they may:

  • Hire the international student for an internship (CPT or Academic Training) or an optional practical training (OPT) experience.
  • If the employer wanted to employ the international student on a more permanent basis, they could attempt to obtain a H1-B visa by petitioning the U.S. government (authorizing 1-6 additional years in the U.S.)

Due to time and expenses involved in sponsoring an employee for an H-1B visa, some employers will not hire international students into CPT or OPT positions. While UNL Career Services supports all UNL students, we cannot control an employer’s willingness to interview or hire international students.

Is there a list of employers who hire international students?
No, while one year an organization may hire international students, the next year they may choose not to or there might not be any openings.  Going Global (within Husker Hire Link) provides information on employers who have petitioned for the H-1B.

What questions can employers ask about my visa status?
You may be asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Are you legally authorized to work in the United States for any employer?
  2. Will you now or in the near future require visa sponsorship?

Most international students are legally authorized to work in the United States for any employer (through CPT, Academic Training, or OPT). But most international students will eventually require visa sponsorship. There is no obligation for an employer to interview or hire international students.