We do a great deal of hiring through our college recruiting programs, and are seeing more and more foreign nationals with temporary F1 student visas.
We run into problems from time to time with students who only have one or two months left on their work authorization. Since obtaining H1 visas can be time consuming and subject to the Visa cap limits, we find ourselves at a disadvantage from an employment standpoint.
We don't want to discriminate by asking any illegal questions at the interview stage, but we also don't want to be caught hiring an employee who can only work for one to two months. Any advice?
-- EEO Specialist, Lynchburg, VA
A Dear EEO Specialist:
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has written various opinion letters in this regard.
In a letter of September 20, 1988, the OSC authorized the use of the following questions in interview notices for on-campus recruiting. "Authorization to work in the U.S. is required;" "Applicant must be presently authorized to work in the U.S. on a full-time basis;" "All the applicants must possess evidence of eligibility to work in the U.S."
In a letter of September 13, 1989, the OSC concludes that employers may eliminate F-1 students from consideration of employment because of their immigration status without violating the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The OSC recommends that questions to applicants concerning their citizenship status be limited to whether they are "presently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis."
I can fax copies of the opinion letters to you.
SOURCE: Gary B. Perl, managing partner of the San Diego office of the law firm of Hirson Wexler Perl & Stark, a full service immigration law firm with emphasis on business-related visas. Gary may be reached at 858-452-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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