Why I hate first day CPT. Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. International students who are in the United States on an F-1 visa are eligible for something called curricular practical training. This is training that’s sort of like an externship or an internship at some outside employer. It allows international students on an F-1 visa to work full-time during school for an employer. There are these schools that offer first day CPT. What I mean by that?
Well, that means that as soon as they start school, usually a master’s degree, they just immediately go to work for these employers. A lot of times, they will go to work for an employer who sponsored them or try to sponsor them for an H-1B. What am I talking about?
Well, generally when you’re on an F-1, you can’t work other than 20 hours a week on campus. But curricular practical training allows you to do an internship or an externship outside the university setting. The thing is that some schools, very few, but some, offer first day CPT, and many of these schools are unethical schools that are abusing the system and setting you up for failure.
If you are thinking about enrolling in a school that does first day CPT, you really need to rethink what you’re doing. Let’s say we have a young man who has a electrical engineering degree. He’s finished college. He did OPT for three years on his STEM extension. The employer kept trying to file an H-1B for him and he never got selected in the lottery. Then he goes back to school and he starts first day CBT. Now, CBT should be limited in duration and it should be limited and included within an educational program. It should not be, and it is not, just a work around when you don’t get picked for an H-1B.
If you are thinking about enrolling in a first day CPT school, you should investigate the school. Do your research. There’s a lot of information about these schools on Google, and you can find out sort of how USCIS has interpreted these schools and how it has screwed up people’s ability to get an H-1B or a green card down the road.
Basically, Jim, that’s me, I’m telling you that you don’t want to do first day CPT. It should be very limited in scope. You should be going to class full-time. First day CPT is a bad thing.
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