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Working with International Students

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Student Employment

Most international students are eligible for on-campus employment while they are full-time students. However, some students do hold visas which do not qualify them for employment; therefore, it is important to verify their employment eligibility prior to offering them a job. In addition, international students are subject to employment issues that other students do not face. The following should be remembered when offering a position to an international student:

  1. I-9 completion: All I-9's for international student workers must be completed in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) on or before the first day of employment in order to follow federal regulations. Since ISSS is the only office on campus with access to the students' immigration documentation to verify their employment eligibility, the hired student must come in person to ISSS with his/her original passport, I-20 or DS-2019 and any other immigration documents in his/her possession.
  2. Social Security Number: Unlike the typical U.S. student, many international students do notpossess a social security number prior to beginning employment at JMU. Social security numbers are required for employment, so the hired student will need to make application with the Social Security Administration (located at 227 E. Elizabeth Street in Harrisonburg) to secure a valid number. The student MAY begin employment prior to obtaining the number, but s/he should be instructed to file the application as soon as possible to avoid delays in receiving the first paycheck. ISSS has a Letter to the Social Security Office which will need to be signed both by ISSS staff and by the student's supervisor to accompany the application to the Social Security office.
  3. 20-Hour Week Maximum: International students are limited, by federal law, to no more than 20 hours/week employment while school is in session. Full-time employment is permitted during school breaks, but the 20-hour maximum must be adhered to when classes are in session. Exceeding this maximum puts the international student in danger of losing his/her immigration status, so it is imperative that this is strictly enforced.
  4. Tax Issues: International students are subject to U.S. income tax, with certain exceptions due to treaty laws. It is important that the hired student talks with JMU's Payroll office prior to the issuance of the first paycheck so all taxes are completed appropriately.