If you didn’t come to the United States or United Kingdom to get a well-paying job after you graduate, think twice.
The Rules Are Made With You In Mind
The United States and the United Kingdom are the two most popular destinations for international students for a reason. Both offer amazing career growth opportunities but in a different way.
In United Kingdom, students used to be entitled to a one-year work permit until things changed in the Spring of 2012. The British government thought that there has been too big of an influx of international students staying in the country on a work permit and not getting jobs. Now permits are given only to those who already have a job offer and whose salary is going to be at least 25,000.00 pounds per annum.
In United States, you are entitled to a one-year work permit every time you complete a full-time degree. The work permit is going to be issued for optional practical training (OPT). It can be seen as tough to get and if you do decide that you want it, there is a whole process that you will have to go through.
The Things You Will Have To Do
- What you will spend most time on is the I-765 form, which is the core of your application. You really have to make sure there are no mistakes in the completed form, as even one mistake can cost you the work permit.
- The time when you submit your application is of utmost importance. If you submit your application too early, your OPT will also start early, and you will not have time to find a job. You would also want the OPT to go for a full year, and for that it would be best to submit your application as close to commencement date as possible.
- The cost has varied in the past, and you should expect the overall cost to be somewhere between $350.00 and $400.00.
- You cannot pay for the application by card, so you will either have to write a check or pay via Western Union. The latter can be done at your university and is probably the easiest way to go. You pay at the box office that does Western Union transactions, and then include the slip hat they give you with your application.
- It will take some time and money for you to get approved. Not many students get rejected, and the ones that do, are rejected because they have filled out something wrong. It is still quite unusual that a student gets rejected though.
- It is very important that you have your passport photos taken right, as this is one of the common pitfalls of why many students get rejected. The Department of Homeland Security Website should have all the necessary information.
- In order to submit you application, you go to the international students’ office and say that you want to pursue an optional practical training (OPT). It can be done only through that office, and you should make sure that you are in good relations with them.
- You will need a recommendation from the head of the office. Something like “yes, this student is bright to take on the OPT experience”. You do not have to worry about the recommendation itself, as it will submitted without you actually seeing it.
- You have the address where you are going to be staying. You will also need to report to the Department of Homeland Security every three months for them to know where you are and whether you are still employed.
- You can only go for as long as three months unemployed in a year.
- Once your OPT is over, you can stay in the country for no longer than three months extra time.
- Extending your OPT is virtually impossible, unless you are a STEM student (i.e. studying science, technology, engineering or maths).
Plan Ahead And Be Patient
Most students to get rejected are unsuccessful because of lack of patience. There are plenty of opportunities for all. You just have to think ahead of time and not lose touch on things. As most professors will tell you, time will go by real fast, and it is in your best interest to be getting exposed to job search and various career-related experiences early on.
One of these opportunities is obviously the optional practical training part of your degree. It lets you stay in the country, see how goes, and if you find it good enough, you will have a chance to progress into a bigger role at where you work.
Remember, it’s one thing to get approved for an OPT, and it is a totally different thing to get a well-paying job that you will be happy with. That’s where the struggle lies!