Summer break is usually the perfect opportunity for college students to work a part time job and earn a little extra cash. This situation is a little trickier for international students who are studying at Louisiana universities. Similar to other forms of employment immigration, students must apply for separate visas in order to work during school breaks. A recent delay in these applications is leaving some of these students without the opportunity to work.
International students can legally work in the United States through the Optional Practical Training program. This gives students the ability to work for as long as a year so long as the field is related to their area of study. Students can only apply for authorization through the program 90 days prior to their start date. In the past, wait times never exceeded 90 days. Current projected wait times are five months.
This delay is posing a serious problem for both recent graduates and current students. Some international students reported having to push back start dates for their jobs while others had their offers rescinded. For some, this means losing money they had spent to travel and work in another state, or returning to their home countries for the summer.
Even for those who are already living and working in the United States, acquiring the necessary approval for staying or working can still be difficult. With so many changes going on with employment immigration, applying accurately and on time may not prevent people from facing long wait times. This can be extremely frustrating for international students who have chosen to study in Louisiana, but it is not a reason to put off pursuing employment opportunities.