Hiring International Graduates
MIT attracts some of the brightest minds in the world, and more than 4,000 international students and postdocs call MIT home. These members of the campus community make meaningful contributions to our campus and world. Many employers are interested in hiring MIT graduates from outside the U.S., and getting permission for international students to work in the U.S. is not as difficult as employers think. Most international students are in the U.S. on non-immigrant student visa (F-1 and J-1), and these international students may be eligible to apply for employment authorization in their degree field of study, both during and after completion of degree, under certain conditions. The resources below are designed to provide you with an overview of this process.
MIT International Students Office (ISO)
The ISO provides information on employment authorization types that current students, and recent graduates, may be eligible for as a benefit of their F-1 nonimmigrant student or J-1 nonimmigrant exchange visitor student categories. Details are available on the ISO Employment webpage, with links to details on the following off-campus employment authorization types:
- F-1 Curricular Practical Training (during academic program)
- F-1 Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (during academic program)
- F-1 Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (after completion of degree program)
- F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (after completion of degree program and initial OPT period for students in designated STEM fields)
- J-1 Academic Training (during or after completion of degree program)
MIT International Scholar’s Office (ISchO)
The ISchO provides information on visa types for international scholars, researchers, professors and certain visitors, including nonimmigrant and immigrant work visa options that may be available for individuals who would be hired by and working for MIT.
The most commonly sought-after visa for companies looking to hire international graduates is the H-1B visa. H-1B visas allow employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. According to the United States Department of Labor, a specialty occupation requires a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, as well as distinctive knowledge in a particular field.
Alternatives to the traditional H-1B visa include:
- The H1-B1 Visa for citizens of Chile and Singapore
- The E3 Visa for citizens of Australia
- The TN Visa for citizens of Canada and Mexico
- The O-1 Visa for individuals with extraordinary ability in their field
Resources for Companies Looking to Hire International Students
United States Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor provides information on hiring foreign workers, as well as an overview of specialty, or professional, visas. Within the Department of Labor, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification provides annual reports on the jobs for which employers have secured foreign workers.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
USCIS provides information on visas for temporary employees, as well as permanent workers.
Immigration Attorney Resources for Students and Postdocs
For students or postdocs seeking longer term employment immigration options beyond the benefits of their student visa status, it is recommended that individuals have a consultation with a qualified immigration attorney to determine potential visa status options, eligibility requirements, and application procedures and timelines.
International Students at MIT are advised to contact the ISO where students can be provided our immigration attorney referral list. International scholars/researchers/faculty/postdocs may contact the ISchO for referrals.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) also has a resource online to assist in identifying a member attorney for assistance.