US simplifies rules for overseas students, and removes STEM-OPT related restrictions

August 20, 2018
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has reversed an earlier stand regarding the international STEM students  who undergo Optional Practical Training. It deals with the subject of   placement at customer work sites. The USCIS  has made the changes on website and has also removed restrictions. Additionally it has reiterated that the employers must meet all obligations related to their training.

Furthermore, in keeping with the STEM-OPT Rules- 2016, USCIS continues to be unhappy with the arrangements which provide labor for hiring and where a genuine employer-employee relationship is not demonstrated.

These requirements regarding meeting training obligations and of the genuine employer-employee relationship are an integral part of this program.

US simplifies rules for overseas students, and removes STEM-OPT related restrictions

Additional facts

International students can get the 12-month OPT in which they can perform a work in the country. The persons completing their degrees in STEM related subjects are eligible to applying for a further extension of OPT for 24 months. A Survey conducted in 2017 shows that there are 1.9 lakh Indian students, pursuing their studies in USA.

Moreover, the earlier stand was revealed on the website and the procedure of change in regulations was not followed. This was affecting the opportunities of the students. The IT and Consultancy services could not avail their services. Now the students can take up the training at the customer sites but only when they meet all the criteria. Maintaining a genuine employer-employee relationship is the central part of this program.

Following the rules

Moreover, the IT-Serve Alliance which is a US Association of IT Services had filed a lawsuit against these developments. This change was in force at a retroactive manner. Moreover, its impact was adverse on the students. The rules designate, that the employer, signing the Form I-983, has to be the same, who gives the training.

Another point to note is that there all third party placements do not qualify. This puts a great responsibility of strict compliance of all rules in this matter. The must report material changes related to employment, and also carry out the training as per the schedule mentioned in Form I-983. Moreover they must have sufficient resources and training personnel, and also provide ideal training conditions. Finally there is a need to maintain the evidence of the training.


Finally, there are a few guidelines, to follow the process of training.  In case there is any violation the student faces debarring from entering the USA for many years.

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