International students in the US can get paid for college student jobs online

You are not in the United States but you are working remotely for your university. Can international students who are not physically in the country be paid for their online student jobs?

The answer would be a “yes”, according to advice by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was last updated on August 7, 2020.

COVID-19 has forced college campuses to close and remotely perform some on-campus employment opportunities.

DHS said, “If the current on-campus employment opportunity has shifted to remote work or the employment can be done remotely, students can continue to work on campus remotely.”

They add that schools should be able to explain how students provide services associated with employment when they are not with the employer.

Not all universities are on board

Some of the best universities in the country have temporary policies in place to help international students find distance employment on campus if they cannot return to the United States. Source: DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP

Some universities, including Rutgers University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Illinois have established temporary policies to support international students in the United States for distance employment on campus.

According to Inside higher education, Columbia University made a decision not to employ or pay students for teaching or research assistant positions abroad “to avoid compromising international student visa status “.

A open letter in Columbia by the Graduate Workers of Columbia condemned the decision.

“We call on Columbia University to lift the return obligation to the United States for academics and working students,” the letter reads.

“Denying teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate instructors and other employed students their allowances and compensation while they are abroad during a pandemic is cruel and unnecessary. “

They add that there is “no legal basis” for which students residing outside the United States cannot be employed, adding that many institutions have already advertised remote work from abroad and that the compensation is an option.

Legal Experts Say ‘Yes’ to Remote Campus Jobs

Speaking to Inside Higher Ed, Stephen Yale-Loehr, an expert in student visa law and professor of immigration practice at Cornell, said he was not aware of a visa-related reason why a university could not hire non-nationals located abroad.

“It can be argued that if a university hires someone to work overseas, the institution must comply with that country’s tax and labor laws,” Yale-Loehr said.

“It can be complicated, depending on the country. However, I do not know of any visa related reason why a university cannot employ a non-national abroad, as long as the work is properly documented and the employee and the university comply with the applicable visa rules. .

Echoing Yale-Loehr is Elizabeth Goss, an immigration lawyer who also specializes in university visa issues.

Goss said she was not aware of a relevant visa restriction and said she suspected that the policy reasoning may be related to international tax issues, which are “quite complicated and understandably onerous for institutions “.

Columbia appears to be withdrawing from its policy announcement, saying in a statement that administrators are “actively exploring options that will allow the university to pay service allowances to graduate students who are overseas and have employment clearances. valid Americans; we hope to have a resolution soon.

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