Another school year in the books! The start of summer marks a period when many F and M international students begin employment and/or practical training opportunities, and with that comes reporting requirements and the need to look out for fraudulent activity. This helps ensure the integrity of the system so international students can gain practical work experience while studying in the U.S.
DHS recognize the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect international student employment. DHS encourage you to visit their online resources and make sure you are up-to-date on new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services flexibilities for some optional practical training (OPT) applicants and new online filing options for F-1 OPT applicants. F and M students and Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools should continue to abide by guidance issued in March 2020 for the upcoming 2021-22 academic year.
While SEVP is constantly monitoring to mitigate fraudulent employment activity involving international students, school officials and students should also familiarize themselves with potential fraud indicators and know how to report suspected fraud. SEVP recently published a blog post on the signs of a potentially fraudulent employer. Other indicators include:
- Employer websites that are vague with no examples of client work, contact information or social media accounts.
- A job’s physical location does not look suitable for employment and/or does not match the address listed on the Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.”
- A relatively unknown or unfamiliar employer that hires a large group of F or M students from a school.
- The work is done remotely and/or through apps such as WeChat.
- Not complying with the terms of the student’s STEM OPT training plan.