Now up to three years OPT for foreign STEM students with limit gap relief

October 20, 2015
The US Homeland Security Department (DHS) has proposed changing its rules on OPT program for allowing the foreign students with US degrees in STEM-related streams that is attained from the institutions for extending it by 24 months the 12 month standard OPT period that is available to them for living in the US for pursuing the degree-related work experience. 

This proposal will be take over from the 17-month extension which is available to the STEM graduates. In addition, F-1 students might qualify for extension that is based on the last attained STEM degree from the higher education institution.

DHS proposes up to 3 years OPT for foreign STEM students with limit gap relief

The extensions are coming with some of the conditions, which include the improved oversight over the jobs of STEM OPT beneficiaries. Employers might be enrolled in the program which is also known as E-Verify employment eligibility verification. The employers shall implement the formal mentoring and training plans, make attestations, which are similar to the required of other job eligible categories of the visa.

The employers should attest the duties, compensation; hours are matching with those applicable to similar situated workers in the US. There are resources and personnel available for providing the appropriate training and mentoring. There will be no layoffs or leave of absence of any of the employee who work in the US coming up from the training of STEM students. The opportunity progresses the student in attaining the objective of the training and ongoing reporting prerequisite will be observed.

The proposal also provides the continued limit gap relief. The F-1 student is the beneficiary in the on time filed H-1B limit petition, student’s status duration, and latest employment authorization will be extended until the 1st October of the year, for which the H-1B visa is being requested.

The proposed rules will improve the reliability of the STEM OPT program by motivating the students for gaining the practical, valuable STEM experience.

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