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Every Monday at 6:42 a.m. and 8:42 a.m., Rob Gilligan provides information on what's happening in the area of regional development in Southeast Missouri. Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.

Let's Talk Business: Growing International Enrollment at SEMO

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Lindsey Grojean/KRCU
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The fall semester is just around the corner and SEMO is expecting to see a record number of International Students enrolled this year. That is certainly great news for the University and the community, but businesses should be aware of rules that can affect their ability to work while in Cape Girardeau.

With as many as 1,400 international students expected to be enrolled at SEMO this fall, this growing student population is an important part of the campus community and represents nearly 12 percent of the overall student population. Most international students come to the U.S. on F1 student visa, which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Simply having a social security number is not enough for these students to work legally.

All employment is contingent on remaining within the terms and restrictions of the students F1 visa. There are several categories of employment during the term of an F1 students stay in the United States with on-campus employment the most freely available permitted by the USCIS regulations.

In limited instances off-campus employment opportunities for International Students can be achieved, but these options have strict guidelines that can only be met by working directly with SEMO to establish partnerships. Additionally, students cannot begin employment until they receive their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS and have been enrolled for at least a year.

Violating these rules and regulations can bring stiff penalties and repercussions for the students, the businesses involved and the University which can jeopardize the opportunity to continue hosting international students. For more information or questions contact the SEMO International Student Services office at 573- 986-6863. Let’s do our part and support SEMO as we welcome these new students from all around the world this fall.

Rob is the President and CEO of the Cape Chamber.