Here is another edition “Dear Sophie” is an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above borders and realize their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in People Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
Technology Flow+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription at 50% off.
Our startup is recruiting engineers. Most of our team works remotely, but some of our potential recruits prefer to work in the office. They are international students graduating in December, as well as some people who have worked remotely with us as contractors. What are the expedited visa options we should consider? Can their supervisor work remotely? Is there anything else we should remember?
– A tough recruiter
It’s interesting to hear that your prospective recruits want to work in an office. As you can imagine, students and recent grads want to meet people and build relationships by working in the office with team members. The same seems true for the international talent you want to recruit.
Let’s start with your second question. Supervisors are not universally required to work with visa holders in person. However, supervisors can help guide and support new hires and provide your company culture, which is vital for employee connection, happiness and retention. The exact relationship and amount of supervision depends on the specific immigration category you are considering.
Now let’s look at visa options for international students.
Recruiting F-1 students is a quick option!
International students on an F-1 visa are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing at least one year of academic coursework. This allows them to obtain a work permit that allows them to work full-time for one year.
Under OPT, students have two options:
- After completing a full year of coursework, they can work part-time (20 hours per week or less) while continuing their coursework, called pre-completion OPT. Students who work under pre-completion OPT for one year can work full-time for another six months.
- After graduation, students can opt for post-completion OPT to work full-time (40 hours per week) for one year. Most F-1 students choose this option.
If you extend an offer for post-completion OPT for some amount to someone who completed pre-completion OPT, talk to them and their school’s Designated School Officer (DSO) about how much they have left over the full 12 months.