DHS Introduces New Rule to Extend STEM OPT Extension
On October 19, 2015, DHS released a newly proposed rule to extend the duration of STEM OPT extensions among other changes. Specifically, the current 17 month extension will be changed to a 24 month extension.
Furthermore, this new rule will increase oversight regarding the employment of STEM OPT students. Only students employed by preapproved USCIS E-Verified employers will be authorized to receive the extension. In addition, the rule will require employers to provide formal mentoring and training programs, compensation similar to U.S workers, cannot terminate U.S workers as a result of providing STEM OPT to a student, and allow the student to advance to attain their training objectives.
The proposal would also allow “F-1 students participating in post-completion OPT to use a prior eligible STEM degree from a U.S institution of higher learning to apply for STEM OPT extension.
Moreover, the proposed rule would allow for Cap-Gap relief for F-1 students who have timely filed their H-1B petitions and change their status. “The Cap-Gap provision, under which DHS would temporarily extend an F-1 student’s duration of status and any current employment authorization if the student is the beneficiary of a timely filed H-1B petition and requests a change of status… until October 1 of the fiscal year for which H-1B visa is being requested”. To learn more about Cap –Gap please visit http://www.hooyou.com/news/news2013/news051613h1b.html
To learn more about the proposed rule, please visit https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/10/19/2015-26395/improving-and
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