On January 29, 2015, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published a message to all SEVP-certified schools entitled Post-Secondary F-1 Student Employment Reminders. In its message, the SEVP reminds all designated school officers (DSOs) of the requirements for the F-1 employment authorization, including the need for a signed cooperation agreement between the school/university and the potential employer for curricular practical training (CPT). Many schools with well-established internal procedures can already meet the requirement of the « cooperation agreement », even if they do not identify it in this way. For example, schools may have requirements for F-1 students to be enrolled in co-op placements or enroll in internships at the career centres of their respective programmes in order to receive CPT. This type of agreement generally creates documented « cooperative » relationships between employers and schools, which should meet the requirement of the « cooperation agreement ». There are two types of practical training for F-1 students: CPT and OPT. CPT is an alternative work/study, internship, collaborative training or any other necessary type of internship that a sponsoring employer offers through agreements with a student`s university or university. « An F-1 student may be authorized by the DSO to participate in a curricular practical training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Curricular practical training is defined as alternative work/study, internship, collaborative training or any other type of internship or internship required offered by sponsoring employers through cooperation agreements with the school. « On the other hand, smaller or less established schools that have not introduced clear protocols for the CPT`s authorisation may require that a new agreement be signed by the employer`s representative and a DSO with each potential CPT employer.
If it is impossible or impractical to require a signed agreement, it may be advisable to obtain a letter from the potential employer describing the employment opportunity and their willingness to comply with the CPT authorization of F-1 students by the school`s DSO. Employment in cPT is one of the most common ways to gain practical experience in one`s own study programme. However, the CPT`s rules and their interpretation by schools and the government may vary. This creates confusion that can lead to acts or inaction by F-1 students that can be considered status violations. It is therefore important to understand the rules in such a way that they are likely to be interpreted by the government. It is recommended that students ensure that all CPT requirements are met, including the new strict interpretation of the cooperation agreement requirement. Students and university officials who have questions about the CPT and related matters may arrange a consultation with a lawyer from the Murthy Law Firm. Once a CPT application has been approved, the student receives an authorisation notification by e-mail. The student can then save this email as documentation of their CPT application for that semester. In addition, students must upload a signed copy of the cooperation agreement for each initial mandate.
It is recommended that students also keep a copy of this document for future reference.