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International Student Employment

1. Purpose

The International Student Employment Policy is designed to ensure students employed by Brigham Young University–Hawaii ("BYU–Hawaii" or "university") and the Polynesian Cultural Center ("PCC") are informed of all the privileges and responsibilities provided to them as employees, as well as the restrictions governing other employment opportunities. Included in this policy are the processes of eligibility, hiring and continuance. Students are only allowed to work a maximum of 19 hours per week except when school is not in session. BYU–Hawaii student employees working at the PCC will be considered co-employees of BYUH and PCC as indicated in the “Professional Employment Services Agreement.” A student working on campus may transfer to the PCC or vice versa, provided a job clearance is secured. IWORK students are normally employed at PCC and must meet certain requirements in order to transfer to a campus job. (See IWORK Policies and Procedures). In all cases students must refrain from any commercial use of university facilities unless written authorization is obtained. Beyond this general student employment policy pertaining to all students, specific parameters for international students are set forth as follows:

A. Lawful Nonimmigrant Student Status and Employment

International students in F or J status must abide by all federal regulations governing their status, including regulations governing employment. Failure to comply with these regulations may invalidate students’ legal status in the United States, which would cause dis-enrollment from Brigham Young University–Hawaii and possible removal from the country. The International Student Services Office (ISS) must authorize any on- or off-campus employment of university-sponsored F or J students. Federal law, including the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, clearly provides that the individual international student is responsible to maintain his or her own lawful status. ISS may authorize the following kinds of international student employment:

B. On-Campus Employment

Students in university-sponsored F-1 or J-1 status may be authorized by ISS to engage in On-Campus Employment for up to 19 hours a week while school is in session and full time during periods when school is not in session. Individuals who have a research assistantship or teaching assistantship that requires them to work 19 hours a week and individuals employed as resident assistants are not eligible for any additional On-Campus Employment. On-Campus Employment includes:

  1. Work done on the university’s campus for any university department, school, or administrative unit.
  2. Work done for any non-university employer operating its business on the university’s campus, such as the Polynesian Cultural Center, provided that the employer provides direct services to university students.
  3. Work for a non-university employer operating its business at an off-campus site that is educationally affiliated with the university as part of the school's established curriculum (e.g., work for the Oahu North Shore Courtyard hotel as approved by university’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program pursuant to an educational affiliation agreement).

NOTE: On-Campus Employment does not include work for employers near the campus who may provide services to the university or its students (e.g., the Laie Hawaii Temple, Hawaii Reserves, Inc., or any off-campus locations of employers who may run businesses on the university's campus).

C. Self-Employment and Experiential Learning

ANY formulation of and/or participation in a business or enterprise where any type of profit can be sought or gained is prohibited. However, for purposes of coursework that the student is enrolled in, if that course includes the practice of designing, creating and/or operating a business, the international student may participate, but must not gain profit from the involvement in the business. They may create, design, and give overall direction to the business only in the context of the course and ONLY during the period the course is in session, and this strictly for academic purposes. At no time can the international student work in a position as a compensated employee or participant in any business venture for any kind of remuneration including any type of self-employment.

D. Off-Campus Employment for Severe, Unforeseen Economic Hardship

If unforeseen economic situations arise after a student has obtained F-1 or J-1 student status, the student may be eligible for off-campus employment. Such employment is limited to 20 hours per week, except during official school breaks and the student's annual vacation. To be eligible for this type of employment, a student in F-1 status must have held that status for a year. Both F-1 and J-1 students must also be able to document an unforeseen change in economic situation that results in severe, unexpected economic hardship, such as death of parent, loss of scholarship, change of economy at home. As with other types of employment, off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship must be approved by ISS in writing prior to the commencement of employment.

E. Curricular Practical Training

(F-1 Students only) An international student may be eligible to engage in Curricular Practical Training (CPT), gaining valuable work experience by working on or off-campus in their field of study. CPT may be authorized on a full-time or part-time basis. However, employment in full-time Curricular Practical Training for one year or more disqualifies a student from Optional Practical Training after graduation. ISS may authorize Curricular Practical Training for university-sponsored F-1 students only if:

  1. The student has been enrolled as a full time student for one full academic year.
  2. The student has a specific job offer.
  3. The student continues to work towards the fulfillment of his or her degree requirements.
  4. The work is an integral part of the established curriculum in the student's course of study. The work must be recommended by the student's academic adviser.
  5. The student maintains their student status with a full course of study as required under applicable immigration regulations and is in good standing with the university.

F. Optional Practical Training

(F-1 students only). Optional Practical Training (OPT) affords qualifying F-1 students the ability to work for up to 12 months after their graduation in on- or off-campus positions related to their study but not necessarily integral to the course of study. ISS may authorize OPT for university-sponsored F-1 students who have completed the required coursework for their degree and are in good standing with the university. OPT must be recommended by ISS and approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services prior to commencement of employment. Students should apply 60 - 90 days before graduation.

G. Academic Training

(J-1 students only). An initial total of up to 12 months of on- or off-campus employment may be approved as Academic Training (AT) for qualifying J-1 students during their enrollment or after their graduation. The proposed employment must be related to the student's course of study as confirmed by his or her academic adviser, the student must be in good standing with the university, and the job must be offered prior to applying for Academic Training. A cumulative total of up to 18 months of AT may be granted in certain cases deemed to warrant an extension beyond the initial 12 month limit. ISS must approve the AT in writing prior to the commencement of employment. Any extension of AT employment beyond the 12 months is an exception which is reviewed on a case by case basis by the Director of International Student Services and the Vice President of Student Services and Development.

H. Post-Graduation Employment Addendum

After an international student’s graduation, ISS may authorize Optional Practical Training or post-graduation Academic Training for qualifying international students to work in the United States for an established period of time under the following circumstances:

  1. The student has no outstanding balance with the university or has made arrangements to repay any such balance prior to application.
  2. The department chair or dean over the student’s academic major supports the student’s application with a letter including:
    1. The goals and objectives of the specific OPT or AT program;
    2. A description of the OPT or AT program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training;
    3. How the OPT or AT relates to the student's major field of study; and
    4. Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the student.
  3. The employment opportunity:
    1. Is related to the student’s major;
    2. Requires an earned bachelor degree or equivalent skill level;
    3. Significantly increases the student’s marketable knowledge, skills, and abilities; and
    4. Is with an employer qualified under the “Eligible Employers” and “Ineligible Provider” guidelines found in the Employer Recruiting Policy. [See Sections II.C. and II.D]

Optional Practical Training or post-graduation Academic Training opportunities connected to a company or industry in the student’s home region are highly preferred.

An Optional Practical Training or post-graduation Academic Training employment opportunity at BYU–Hawaii or the Polynesian Cultural Center will be authorized only if the hiring department has an existing or an approved position open prior to offering the job to the student. Positions must have a clear description of duties and objectives.

2. Policy

3. Implementation

“Student Employment” as a general topic is addressed in university policy and was last reviewed and approved on 02/10/2014.

International Student Services Department established “Employment” policy written and approved on 07/30/2012 which addresses regulatory restrictions and requirements for international student employment, and states penalties for “unauthorized employment”, but does not offer a complete coverage or definition, or address the issues of conducting business, nor the consolation for business coursework, which are the essential items of focus in this policy. This present policy is being proposed to combine student employment policy for both domestic and international students, differentiate the two, and define all aspects of international student employment including defining the terms under which an international student in an entrepreneurial business course may participate in the development of business for academic purposes or experiential learning.

4. Related Policies and Procedures


Policy Owner: International Student Services Senior Manager

Executive Sponsor: Student Life Vice President

Approved by President’s Council: 03/01/2016

Modified: 08/06/2018

Full revision history maintained by the Office of Compliance & Ethics.