The US Federal Court Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle had permitted a request by the US DHS for delaying the possible termination of the STEM-related OPT program till 10th May 2016.
The STEM OPT program permits the students with degree in technology, science, maths or engineering fields who do job for the employers that had registered for the E-Verify for extending their period of OPT by 17 months.
The ruling means that the F-1 students with a legitimate STEM OPT job authorization document (EAD) could continue to do the job further than 12th February 2016 and the US Immigration, and Citizenship Service (USCIS) could continue accept the applications for the STEM related OPT extensions till 10th May 2016. The court had earlier given the DHS time till 12th February 2016 for putting in place the fresh regulations for the STEM-related OPT program. It is predicted that the DHS would finalize the rules before the latest 10th May deadline for enabling the STEM related OPT program to continue without disruption.
Earlier, the DHS had published a notice and had seek the comments from public. The response was unprecedented and more than 50,000 comments were received. For this reason, the DHS had asked for further three months of time for considering the public comments and propagate its conclusive regulations.
As per the DHS, there are around 23,000 STEM related OPT students, around 2300 dependents of STEM-related students and around 8000 pending applications for STEM related OPT extension, and around 4,34,000 overseas students who may be qualified to apply for the STEM related OPT authorization. If at all the stay was not extended, many of these individuals and their employers had got affected.