1. Planning to study abroad? Visa and Work permit issues that you should know

Planning to study abroad? Visa and Work permit issues that you should know

The most important aspect of any education is the employability. Though this issue is relatively easy if you are a resident or a citizen of the country, not so much when you are studying in a foreign country.

Updated: November 2, 2016 1:21 PM
student-l The duration of F-1 visa (for the USA) is typically the length of your program, plus one additional year of work permit. (Source: Reuters)

The most important aspect of any education is the employability. Though this issue is relatively easy if you are a resident or a citizen of the country, not so much when you are studying in a foreign country.

Will I get a job abroad? What about the Visa? What about the work permit rule? These are some questions that always bother students frequently.

This article is aimed at decoding some of the fundamental issues and also, opportunities of employment/work permit while studying abroad.

To begin with, it is important to know that when you apply for education abroad, you will get a student visa. The duration of the student visa depends on the course, program and the country that you have applied for. For instance, in the USA, a student visa is known as F-1 visa. This is granted to all incoming students for non-US citizens/permanent residents. The duration of F-1 visa (for the USA) is typically the length of your program, plus one additional year of work permit. In the USA, a student is eligible for a minimum of 1 year (can be up to 2.5 years) of post-study work visa. This one-year or more is applicable on your student visa itself, and you don’t have to apply for a separate work visa. If you want to stay longer, then you have to apply for the work visa i.e. H-1B visa for the USA. This is the norm in almost all countries, but make sure to check the requirements of the particular country that you might be interested in.

While studying at the university in a foreign country, a student is allowed to work part time along with your studies. The number of hours allowed to work depends on the country. Most countries such as USA, Australia, New Zealand allow a student to work 20 hours per week on a student visa. Although some countries i.e. USA permit students to work only on-campus, there are ample jobs available for the incoming international students (can be competitive in some universities). Further, during semester breaks, a student can work full time i.e. 40 hours per week. This is as good as a full-time job, regarding the number of hours. These part-time jobs can assist a student in paying for living and food, which is a considerable part of your studying abroad.

After completing your education, a student can stay back in the country on a student visa for gaining the relevant work experience (full-time job). The period of residence depends on country and course. For instance in the USA, this period, known as Optional Practical Training or OPT, varies between 12 months to 29 months, depending on the degree completed. A student can take a full-time job and work to gain the relevant experience. During this period, a student must file for his/her work visa (H1B for the USA) to continuing to work after the end of OPT period.

Always remember that there are certain rules and restrictions in place when you study abroad regarding the work permit since you are not a citizen of that country. There will always be uncertainty about the job, work permit, etc., but a thorough research and professional help can help you clear out your doubts. Further, every university has an international students department to assist international students. This will be your second home while studying abroad. Make use of all opportunities to understand country-specific requirements from the international students office. The advisors at your university are well trained to handle any query and are very helpful to address your questions related to visa/work permit.

To conclude, the benefits of the global education regarding experience and exposure are paramount in your life and career, so don’t worry and be confident about your abilities to perform best for yourself. All the Best!

The author, Shirish Gupta, is Founder and Director, Mnemonic Education and Overseas Admissions

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