Hiring International Students
New York University enrolls over 17,000 international students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Most of these international students entered the United States with student visas, allowing them to pursue full-time study, often complemented by employment in their field of study.
In addition to their quality education at New York University, international students often offer multilingual and multicultural skills, making them attractive employees in the global workplace.
Who is the International Student?
At New York University, international students are enrolled in every school of the University, pursuing full-time studies from the undergraduate to the Ph.D. level. Most international students at NYU are graduate students who already have a degree and/or significant work experience before enrolling at the University.
NYU international students are citizens of over 140 different countries. The countries sending the largest number of students to NYU for the 2015-2016 academic year were China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan.
International students enter the United States using one of two student visas. Most students are classified as F-1 students at NYU. A small number are J-1 students. The primary distinction between the two classifications is that F-1 students usually have private sources of funding, whereas J-1 students often have governmental or international agency funding. Many J-1 students are participants in an exchange program between their university abroad and NYU. Although the primary purpose of F-1 and J-1 student status is study in the United States, both classifications allow for off-campus employment.
How Can an International Student Work Off-Campus?
The regulations allow for practical training for F-1 students and academic training for J-1 students. Both types of work allow for paid employment in the student's field of study at an off-campus location. There are two major differences in how the work permission for each is obtained. An F-1 student has a maximum of 12 months of practical training, which can be used during and/or after the degree. The application is reviewed and recommended by OGS, with final authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USClS). There is no paperwork for you, the employer. An F-1 student does not even need a job offer to get this work permission.
A J-1 student has a maximum of 18 months of academic training to use during and/or after the degree, depending on the length of the degree program. The sponsor of the student's J-1 program (often NYU) reviews and authorizes the academic training. A written job offer is required, but there is no additional waiting time for processing by any government agency.
Neither practical training nor academic training requires you, the prospective employer, to complete any forms with the USCIS or any other government agency.
Do I Withhold Tax From the International Student Employee?
Yes, international students do have taxes withheld from income earned in the United States, with some notable exceptions. F-1 or J-1 students who have been in the U.S. less than five calendar years, are nonresidents for tax purposes. Most NYU international students will be classified as such. A nonresident student is exempt From FICA/FUTA (social security/unemployment) withholding.
Further, approximately 45 countries have tax treaties with the United States. Students from a tax treaty country may have part of their income exempt from Federal taxation. Students who claim this exemption must be able to prove eligibility under the tax treaty. Summaries of these treaties can be found in IRS Publication 901, which is available at the IRS web site.
What Happens After the Student Has Used All His/Her Training?
You will likely find the NYU international student to be an asset to your team. Although it is not possible to extend the training beyond the maximum period allowed by law, many NYU students qualify for and routinely gain an H-1 B employment classification. The H-1 B is for professional employment and allows for work up to six years.
The H-1 B is not a complicated procedure, but it does require the employer to plan ahead, so there is not a "gap" in the time the employee is allowed to work. The employer acts as the "sponsor" for the H-1 B applicant and documents must be filed with both the Department of Labor and the BClS. It is wise to begin the H-1 B process at least three months before the student's training period expires.
Although the OGS cannot offer assistance in this area, we can provide NYU F-1 and J-1 students a list of qualified immigration attorneys who can.
Reprinted in substantial part by permission from the NYU Office of Global Services.