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F1 Student Visa; How to Maximize Employability (STEMs)

Posted: June 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Earlier this week there was an article on certain bills brought before the US Congress concerning US student visa laws.  This is a follow-up to that article.  This article explains what STEM majors are and why they are.

It is difficult to find employment in the USA with an F1 Student Visa.  US Immigration Law restricts the kinds of gainful activities an F1 student visa holder can pursue.  This makes it hard for foreign students to support themselves while they are studying.  But there are some exceptions.  An F1 student visa holder can work off campus after the first year of study if that work falls into 3 categories:

  • Curricular Practical Training
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)

What this means is that in order for an F1 student to qualify for employment, that employment has to be related to the student’s major.  It also has  to be approved by the Designated School Official (the person authorized to maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) and USCIS.

Now this is important.  If you are an F1 student visa holder and you want to work, certain majors qualify for longer periods of work than others.  Here is a list of F1 Student Majors with Better Chances of Employment.  If you pursue them you could qualify for up to 29 months of employment while still under an F1 student visa.  We highly recommend you consider pursuing these majors.  Not only are they in high demand but they can help you support yourself better while you study.

We especially recommend Math, Medical Informatics, Business Statistics, Actuarial Science, Management Science and Quantitative Methods.

Good luck F1 Students in pursuit of your studies!


US Student Visa Bills Before Congress

Posted: May 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Employer & Student Visas, National News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

US Student Visa laws are getting a second look in Congress these days.  In an attempt to strengthen the US economy, several senators introduced bills this week that would reform US student visa regulations.  The determining factor is the major that student visa holders decide to pursue.  Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related majors are looked upon very favorably.  A student visa holder pursuing one of these majors has a smoother immigration process than one who pursues a non-STEM major.  Look for an article later this week that explains more about STEMs.

One of the bills, S. 3192, the Sustaining our Most Advanced Researchers and Technology Jobs Act of 2012 or the “SMART Jobs Act” would create a new F-4 visa for foreign students pursuing a masters of doctorate in STEM fields in the US.  After securing full time employment in a STEM field the graduates may have their status adjusted to Legal Permanent Resident.

Another new bill is S. 3185, the Securing the Talent America Requires for the 21st Century or “STAR Act.” This bill would allocate 55,000 immigrant visas for eligible STEM graduates (Master’s and Ph.D.) of qualifying U.S. research institutions who have job offers in related fields by eliminating the so-called “Diversity Visa” lottery program.

There is also S. 3217, the StartUp Visa Act 2.0.  As David Leopold states in his blog on the bill: “The Senators propose to…attract foreign talent and “jump start” the economy by creating an Entrepreneur’s Visa for immigrants who establish businesses in the U.S. that create American jobs… The proposal also creates a green card for foreign students who have graduated from American Universities with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics.”

All these proposals are still bills and need to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the President before they become law.  But they are part of a larger pattern in Congress.  Many Congressmen and Senators agree, we are better off with more student visa holders pursuing a STEM-related degree.