Businesses looking to hire international graduates, particularly for information technology jobs, need to start the process at least four to six months prior to the potential employees’ permanent hire date, according to immigration attorney Aimee Todd.

          Ms. Todd, a lawyer with Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP, gave advice on work visas to some 80 international students and employers during a recent seminar held by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s International Business Club.

          “Petitioning to hire international students is not a headache for employers if companies start early,” Ms. Todd told GlobalFax. “IT jobs are again becoming available, and Georgia companies with international subsidiaries are seeking international employees to fill those positions.”

          She said foreign students graduating with bachelor’s degrees can begin working for a company immediately after graduation and can work legally for one year without having to petition for temporary work status.

          But companies should start their petitions six months early because the process for obtaining temporary work visas takes four to six months, Ms. Todd said. Employers can receive expedited permits for their international employees in as little as two weeks, but they must pay a high fee, she added.

          Employers can retain foreign employees with temporary work status for three to six years, after which they must apply for the employees’ permanent work status.

          The majority of attendees at the seminar were Georgia Tech international students, as well as some students from Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia.

          Contact Ms. Todd at (404) 572-6895 or Contact the Georgia Tech Dupree College of Management Career Services Office at (404) 894-1465 or the university’s Office of International Education at (404) 894-9165.

          The International Business Club’s next event will feature Sarah Wu, director of the Hong Kong Trade Office in New York, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m., at the Wardlaw Center at Georgia Tech. Visit online at or call Sven Stumbauer at (404) 255-3396.