Some universities including Rutgers University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois have also taken initiatives to help international students with online placements.
According to a notice from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), international students who are not physically present in the US will get paid for online college student jobs. The coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of the university campuses and placement opportunities ended up being conducted online.
According to DHS, “If the current on-campus employment opportunity has transitioned to remote work or the employment can be done through remote means, students may continue to engage in on-campus employment remotely. Schools should be able to explain how the students are providing services associated with the employment while not at the location of the employer."
Some universities including Rutgers University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois have also taken initiatives to help international students with online placements. However, Columbia University has decided not to place or pay students for teaching or research assistantships “to avoid jeopardising international students’ visa status”.
An open letter was sent to Columbia by the Graduate Workers of denied the decision. The letter says, “We call on Columbia University to lift the obligation to return to the US for scholars and student workers. Denying teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate instructors, and other student employees their stipends and pay while they are abroad during a pandemic is cruel and unnecessary. There is “no legal basis” why students residing outside the US cannot be employed. However, many institutions have already announced working remotely from abroad and receiving pay is an option."
Columbia said in a statement that administrators “are actively exploring options that will allow the university to pay service stipends to graduate students who are abroad and have valid US employment authorisations; we hope to have a resolution shortly.” This simply shows that the university is not following the policy announcements.
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