Proposed changes to the STEM related OPT rules

November 03, 2015
On 19th October 2015, the Homeland Security Department had published in its Federal Register, a rule which was proposed for providing the OPT job authorization for longer period of time to assured qualifying F-1 students.

The change in the proposed rule would allow the non immigrant students under the F-1 visa with the degrees in STEM streams from the institutions of the US of higher education to extend their initial one year OPT period by two years.  This two-year extension rule has replaced the year 2008, 17 month rule of extension that was implemented without any notice and period of comment. 

Proposed changes to the STEM OPT rules

This new rule is responsive to the federal court that vacated the 2008, 17 months rule of extension which will begin from February 2016. 

The students who are working likely in pursue to OPT STEM extension likely shall be able to maintain their STEM extension work authorization without any interruption that otherwise will have occurred on the 12TH February 2016.

Related to the recent 17 month extension of STEM OPT, the rule which has been proposed allows the extensions under STEM OPT only for students employed by the employers enrolled in the USCIS program of E- Verify employment eligibility verification.

The proposal had also included the Limit Gap relief that will allow the F-1 students with the H-1B petition filed on time and requested for the change of status the benefit of the automatic extension of the F-1 status and the OPT job authorization through 30th September, which will ensure that the continues job authorization for those selected under the quota of H-1B and ultimately approved for the status of H-1B.

After the month long period of comment ending on 18th November 2015, the DHS is needed to review and consider all the comments before implementing the final rule.

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