ICEF Monitor – US court extends deadline for new post-study STEM work rules
5 Feb 2016
International students in the US hoping to gain practical experience in their chosen fields of study are getting an extra and unwanted learning experience about the US legal system and political wrangling over immigration.
Regardless of the eventual outcome, the issue is of great concern given the increasing importance that prospective students place not only on their academic programmes but also on employment opportunities available to them in their host countries.
Originally set up to allow international students to gain up to one year of US work experience in their chosen field, the OPT programme has been operating for over 70 years without fanfare or complaint. In 2008, the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) – DHS’s administrative unit for overseeing both student (F-1) and scholar (J-1) visa operations – tweaked the regulations, offering among other changes a 17-month extension of the OPT period for graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
- A further extension of the STEM OPT period from the previous 17 months to a proposed 24 months, as well as an extra 24-month STEM OPT period for students who subsequently earn other STEM-area degrees at higher levels of education and an opportunity for students with prior degrees in STEM fields to retroactively seek the STEM extension;
- New “Mentoring and Training Plans” required of all employers hiring STEM OPT recipients;
- Attestations from employers that the STEM OPT recipients are not displacing US citizens with their employment and that the students are receiving equitable wages and work conditions;
- Clearer definitions of STEM-related fields as well as more specific policy on how DHS would go about altering the list of approved STEM fields in the future;
- Authorisation for DHS to conduct on-site reviews of employers;
- Allowing STEM-OPT applicants an increase from 90 to 150 days for unemployment (presumably while job searching).
“Read the full article on ICEF Monitor” – Source: http://monitor.icef.com/2016/02/us-court-extends-deadline-for-new-post-study-stem-work-rules/