Finding work is complicated task for international students

Ana Mihajlovic

International students may have to wait longer to start working on campus this semester because of stricter Social Security laws.

As a result of the new guidelines, international students will face additional challenges that will complicate everyday life.

“If a student decides not to work, it will be harder to get a bank account and a driver’s license,” said Kelly Mata, international student adviser. “People don’t understand how important that number is for everyday activities.”

Under laws and regulations recently passed by the Social Security Administration, international students without a Social Security number have to proceed through several steps, such as finding a job, in order to apply for one.

“The policy was adopted in October, but it is starting to be more effective this semester as more on-campus jobs need to be filled,” said Julie Stieber, associate director of the Career Services Center.

There were 917 international students at Kent State as of Fall 2004, but not all of them will be affected by these restrictions, Mata said. In the past, all international students were encouraged to apply for a Social Security card, but this is no longer possible.

Prior to issuing Social Security numbers to international students, the SSA is requesting additional information from students and school officials verifying that the student is authorized to work.

Wanda Colon-Mollfulleda, Ravenna SSA district manager, said the new rules will reduce the number of cases in which Social Security numbers were used for purposes not related to work.

Stieber agreed, stating this is the reason why confirmation of employment in now necessary.

“This will help verify the status of every international student applying for a Social Security number,” Stieber said.

“We created new procedure forms for on-campus employers to use in order to get everyone involved,” he said.

All on-campus employers are required to comply with the new regulations. Allowing a student to begin work before following all procedures is in violation of federal policy.

“We’ve worked out a system to help it go a little bit faster,” Mata said.

The Career Services Center, International Student and Scholar Services and the Social Security Administration are working together to make this process as simple as possible.

“There have always been more steps international students have had to take to obtain employment,” Stieber said. “But this has added yet another step in a multi-step process.”

According to an International Student Employment Guidelines handout, after finding a job, students must get the Social Security Employment Verification form completed by their employer and the International Scholar Services Office.

In addition, students must then take this form along with their I-9 to the Social Security Office in Ravenna in order to apply for the Social Security number.

Finally, after proceeding through all the steps, students can obtain Student Appointment forms at the Career Services Center.

“The student will give this form to their employer to fill out and then bring it back here to be eligible to begin working,” Stieber said.

Although this process is very complex, anything that has come up was resolved very easily, said Stieber. Further questions can be directed to Stieber through the Career Services Office at (330) 672-2360 or [email protected] or Colon-Mollfulleda through the Social Security Administration Office at (330) 296-9635 or [email protected].

Contact international affairs and non-traditional students reporter Ana Mihajlovic at amihajlo@kent.