Hiring International Students

(Revised 10/16/02)

Student hires typically fall into two groups. Students on academic appointments are generally graduate students and are being appointed to associate instructorships, graduate assistantships, research assistantships, or resident assistantships. Students who are hired on an hourly basis may be graduate or undergraduate students.

The initial immigration documents for the vast majority of international students will have been prepared by IU Admissions. They will all have IU IDs. Therefore a positive match should be possible in every case.

All foreign students employed on campus must have a visa status of F-1, J-1, or (very rarely) J-2, L-2, or E-2. I-9 procedures provide a means to determine whether a student's immigration status permits him or her to work. If the hiring decision is made a long time before the student appears for employment (as is the case for academic appointments), then it is wise to check with the student, or university records (admissions letter, IUIS, or SIS) to assure that the student is likely to have a status that permits employment. Under normal circumstances, this is not a problem.

Personal Data Form Stage
The department collects the completed personal data form, which should have an IU ID noted on it. The department calls up the relevant record through the E-Docs and completes updates as relevant (possibly including home and mailing address, primary and preferred names). If the department fails to make a positive match, it should confirm that it is using the correct IU id or SSN. If it is, then it can consult with the international office for further matching.

The hire process should not be completed without a review of the Work Authorization Stage.

Work Authorization Stage
For the purpose of hiring and initial employment, departments may assume automatic authorization for all students in IU F-1 or IU J-1 status. Students are no longer required to show a work authorization card from the international office before employment. The international office will monitor employment reports of students and counsel those who appear to be in violation of status.

Generally, no foreign student may legally accept an appointment if that appointment requires more than 20 hours of work in a week during the fall or spring semester or if that appointment combined with other appointments require more than 20 hours of work in a week during the fall and spring semesters. For SAA appointments, the appointment should not exceed .5 FTE, and .5 FTE SAA appointees should not be employed hourly during the fall and spring semesters. Exceptions to this rule are rare and must have prior written permission from the international office.

Generally, IU foreign student academic appointees must be enrolled in six hours of course work (or the minimum thesis credit hours, once course work is completed) during the fall and spring semesters to maintain their immigration status. Other students must generally be enrolled full time.

During the summer and during vacation periods, the maximum 20-hour work week and the minimum enrolled hours limitations do not apply. Foreign students do not need to enroll in courses in the summer to maintain status, and they may work full time on campus in the summer.

If a foreign student enrolls in less than a full course of study, or if he or she is employed for more than 20 hours a week during the fall or spring semester, without prior authorization from the international office, the student has violated status and cannot be legally employed until the student has been reinstated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. At the next point of completing an I-9, the immigration documents (including the I-94) may no longer be valid.

Departments are not required to prove that students meet requirements for maintaining their immigration status. This task will be accomplished by the international office, or other offices, via IUIE reporting. Departmental requirements regarding work authorization are as follows:

  1. If a department has any reason to believe that a student may be in jeopardy on immigration status issues, it should consult with the international office, and advise the student to consult with that office, before employment begins.
  2. Departments must not employ an international student in a position that requires more than 20 hours of work a week during the fall and spring semesters. (Rare exceptions require prior international office approval.)
  3. Individuals who have J-1 immigration status and are NOT sponsored by IU (Fulbright students are in this category, for example), must provide a letter of work authorization from their sponsor before they are employed. Accepting payment for work without such a letter compromises their status. Departments can determine the sponsorship by reviewing Item 2 on the IAP-66/DS-2019. If that item does not list IU, departments must obtain a copy of the sponsor's work authorization letter before employing the individual.

I-9 Stage
The I-9 stage is not part of the E-Docs process. For student academic appointments, this stage is likely to occur some time after the hire process and very close to the beginning of actual employment. For student hourly employees, the hire process and I-9 process happen at the same time or in close succession. Departments by this time should be able to make a positive match in the E-Docs for each individual.

The department reviews the I-9 and the documents submitted in support. If an individual has claimed to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, but the documents appear to contradict this claim, the department will not employ the individual until after it has conferred with the international office.

The federally mandated I-9 process is addressed elsewhere and has not been changed by the HRMS or E-Docs processes. See the procedures for completing the Form I-9 in the Employment section of the UHRS website. If an individual satisfies the federal requirements of the I-9 procedures, then the department cannot refuse to hire the individual based on the document review. If documents are current, but expiring in the near future, the department must not refuse to hire the individual because expiration dates are near at hand. This is explicitly defined as discrimination in federal regulations.

I-9 Expiration and Reverification
Official I-9 procedures include two rules regarding I-9 expiration dates:

Date 1. If an individual indicates an authorization ending date in Section 1 (An alien authorized to work until ...@), the department must repeat the I-9 review before that date if the individual continues in employment.

Date 2. If an individual presents work authorization documents with expiration dates (List A or C), the department must repeat the I-9 review before the earliest of those expiration dates. Expiration dates on documents used solely to establish identity, usually either the passport or a driver's license, may be ignored in determining Date 2.

It is possible that a student may provide documents that satisfy I-9 requirements, but that are not among the visa documents needed by the international office to make a positive determination of status. Departments may not dictate what choices an individual makes in satisfying I-9 requirements. (Be aware, however, that a Social Security Card that is valid only with INS work authorization is not sufficient by itself for List C purposes.) If the student has satisfied the I-9 process without providing passport, I-94, I-20, IAP-66, or DS-2019, departments may request these visa documents to assist the international office in determining visa status, but it cannot require those documents as a condition of employment. If a student does not wish to provide the visa documents, please advise the international office of that fact.

E-Docs Review
The department reviews the name on the passport. If it differs from the preferred name designated by the student, the department enters the primary (legal) name to the E-Docs.

The department enters to the E-Docs "I-9 expiration date" field a date that is the earliest of Date 1 or Date 2 above. Expiration dates on passport or driver's license should not be considered in determining this earliest date.

 

Visa Documents to International Office
For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, department forwards nothing to international office.

For students who submit IU I-20 or IU IAP-66/DS-2019 as I-9 documentation, department forwards nothing to the international office.

For all others (and there should be very few of these), department faxes or sends photocopies of I-9 supporting documents (but not the I-9 itself) and copies of any available visa documents (including the passport and I-94 information) to international office.

In these few cases, the international office will review the supporting documents. If the documents provide a positive confirmation of the immigration status, the international office will access the individual's Visa/Permit Data panel on the client. The international office will add a row, enter "USA" to country and appropriate immigration status to Type. It will choose a status of "Verified." It will note the date the individual entered the country with the current I-94 as the Status Date, and it will leave the default Effective Date at the current date.