October 16, 2015

STEM OPT Extension from 17 To 24 Months, More Exciting News From Proposed Rule

The OMB(Office Of Management And Budget) has approved the STEM OPT Extension Rule Proposal by DHS(Department Of Homeland Security) on 14-OCT-2015. This is one step of a progress towards providing a sigh of relief to International Students!

                          Click here to look at The STEM OPT RuleMaking Steps

As part of the RuleMaking process, the Proposed STEM OPT Extension Summary was attached in the Federal Registry for Public comments.

We have reviewed the Proposed STEM OPT Extension Rule and it certainly has some exciting news.

Main Pointers of Proposed STEM OPT Extension Rule:

1. The STEM OPT Extension was proposed to be increased to 24 months from 17 months as per invalidated old rule.
2. A second STEM Degree to be qualified for a 2nd OPT Extension of another 24 months. This is another great news for those the H-1B petitions not picked in the lottery system.
3. The previous STEM degree can be used to quality for a 24 months STEM OPT Extension if not used before and the recent degree received from an accredited institution.
4. Maximum Unemployment Period during STEM OPT Extension was proposed to be increased from 30 Days To 60 Days(for an aggregate of 150 days).
5. The Cap-Gap would extend the OPT until 1st October for the timely filed H-1B petitions.
6. The STEM Definition and CIP(Classification Of Instructional Program) Categories or Specializations will be updated in the SEVP(Student Exchange Visitor Program) Website.
7. Limiting STEM OPT Extension eligibility to Students with degrees only from accrediting agencies recognized by Department of Education.
8. Increased Employer On-Site Visits to verify if the students are meeting the STEM OPT Extension requirements.
9. Employers(or Hiring Companies) MUST implement a formal Mentoring and Training Program for the students working under STEM OPT Extension.
10. Employers(or Hiring Companies) MUST be enrolled in USCIS E-Verify Program and report STEM student employment changes.
11. The Employers(or Hiring Companies) are required to attest that they have sufficient Resources and Trained Personnel to provide mandatory Mentoring and Training to students under STEM OPT.
12. The Employers(or Hiring Companies) are required to attest that they will not lay-off or terminate a Temporary or Permanent US worker as a resulting of hiring a STEM OPT student. This is to address the previous judgement on Lawsuit by Washington Alliance Of Technology Workers.

Stay tuned for future updates on the STEM OPT Extension as we move through the RuleMaking Process.

Please share this article to keep your friends and family updated on the OPT Extension Rule.


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