Categories: Technology

Immigration Law GroupOur colleagues in Epstein Becker Green’s Immigration Law Group recently published a special client alert: "DHS Releases New F-1 STEM OPT Regulations."

Following is an excerpt:

On March 11, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) issued its long-awaited final rule (the “2016 Rule”) allowing F-1 graduates to extend their Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) period if they have a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (“STEM”) from an accredited U.S. university and their prospective employer is registered in and using the federal government’s E-Verify program to assess the identity and employment authorization of new hires. ...

Each year, foreign student graduates of U.S. universities in F-1 status are allowed up to one year of OPT employment in fields related to their course of study after graduation. Since 2008, DHS regulations (the “2008 Rule”) allowed eligible F-1 graduates to obtain an additional 17 months of OPT as long as they had a STEM degree from an accredited U.S. university and their prospective employer was enrolled in and using E-Verify. This extended the total OPT period of authorized work authorization to 29 months.

On August 12, 2015, however, the STEM OPT program received a grave blow when a U.S. district court in Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ____ F. Supp. 3d ____, 2015 WL 9810109 (D.D.C. Aug. 12, 2015) (slip op.) (“Washington Alliance”), rendered its decision to vacate the 2008 Rule unless DHS corrected procedural errors that were the basis for the district court’s decision. ...

On March 11, 2016, DHS released the 2016 Rule in response to the Washington Alliance decision. The 2016 Rule revamped and substantially modified the F-1 STEM OPT program defined by the 2008 Rule. There are numerous positive changes in the 2016 Rule. ...

Read the full alert here.


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