Hiring an International Student

Working with our International Students is way easier than you may think! There are over 250 international students from 43 different countries at SUNY Oswego. Popular majors include: Business Administration, Computer Science, Finance, Accounting, English, Biology and Marketing.

Onboarding international students often takes no more effort than hiring U.S. citizens. CPT and OPT allow employers to hire international students — no sponsorship or additional government paperwork required. You can hire international students through your regular payroll with an I-9 form.

Benefits of Hiring an International Student

  • Strengthen the team’s cultural competency and diversity of language skills
  • Fill roles from shortages of highly-skilled U.S. workers, particularly in STEM
  • Gain knowledge of foreign global markets

Learn more

Hiring for internships, co-ops, and volunteer work

CPT (Curricular Practical Training) is any applied learning experience for academic credit; may be paid or unpaid and full or part-time. Our EXCEL office can assist you to develop your internship and co-op opportunities! oswego.edu/excel

  • Employers interested in temporarily hiring a current international student on CPT must work with the student to define and record the objectives and intended outcomes of the experience through an employer verification application provided by SUNY Oswego’s EXCEL Office.
  • Companies may be contacted by the EXCEL Office halfway through a students’ internship period in order to assess the student’s progress and make any adjustments if needed.
  • CPT is employment-based, meaning that the student must secure the training opportunity before CPT can be authorized.
  • Students may not participate in CPT for 12 months or more, and they may only work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session for internships. Cooperative programs, unlike internships, may be authorized full time.

Post-Graduation Employment

OPT (Optional Practical Training) is a temporary post-graduation work authorization that all degree-seeking foreign students are eligible to apply for as part of their F-1 student visa. All F-1 visa holders can work 12 months (24-month extension for STEM fields). Start dates may need to be flexible and employers can sponsor after one year.

  • Company involvement on the part of the company is minimal for students in their initial 12-month OPT period
  • There are some additional responsibilities that a company must take on when they are hiring a foreign worker on an OPT STEM extension.
  • Foreign workers on OPT can work full or part-time, and may be hired through a company’s regular payroll with an I-9 Form.
  • Employers should check with your accountant to determine the appropriate tax withholding, if necessary.
Common Questions about OPT

Continuing Employment Beyond OPT

  • To continue employing an international student beyond their 12 - 36 months of OPT, the employer must file a nonimmigrant petition for temporary work authorization on the employee’s behalf with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • The H-1B visa is generally the visa type that most former international students qualify for. An H-1B visa is valid for 3 years, with the option of extending to a total of 6 years. A company must petition for an H-1B visa on the employee’s behalf approximately 4 months prior to the end of his or her OPT period.
  • Note that only 65,000 H1-B visas are currently granted each fiscal year. This means that even if a company applies for an H-1B visa on behalf of a foreign employee, that employee may not be selected to receive the visa.
  • For more information about sponsoring a foreign worker for an H1-B visa, please consult an immigration attorney.