Monday, March 14, 2016

OPT STEM EXTENSIONS NOW 24 MONTHS

On March 11, 2016 the USCIS published the rules of a new, expanded STEM Extension OPT program.  The new STEM Extension will go into effect Tuesday, May 10, 2016.  Among other changes, the program extends the length of the STEM Extension from 17 months to 24 months.

STEM OPT Extensions are available to students completing a degree in the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics fields at US colleges or universities in F-1 status.  A list of degrees eligible for STEM Extensions is available on the Immigration Customs and Enforcement website.

In August 2015, the US District Court judge ruled that the USCIS STEM OPT Extension program was invalid because the USCIS had not followed the proper procedure when creating the STEM Extension program in 2008.  The federal judge allowed the USCIS time to re-create the program using the proper procedure. 

The USCIS has now re-created the STEM Extension program using the proper procedure and has extended the length of the STEM Extension from 17 months to 24 months.  The new STEM Extension rules also include the following:
·         Employers participating in the STEM Extension program must incorporate a formal training program that includes concrete learning objectives with proper oversight.
·         All STEM employers taking part in the program must also participate in e-verify.
·         Students must work at least 20 hours per week per employer to qualify for STEM Extensions.
·         Students are now permitted a total of 150 days aggregate unemployment while on OPT.  Students continue to be permitted 90 days aggregate of unemployment during the initial period of OPT.  Students are now permitted an additional 60 days of unemployment during the STEM OPT Extension period. 

The Immigration Service has also created a STEM OPT Hub website which includes resources for schools, students, and employers to assist in the transition from the old STEM OPT program to the new STEM OPT program.  

7 comments:

  1. Hi! Mu I have read the below news. Could you suggest me Am I eligible to move from Eb3 to Eb2. My PD in 2006 in EB3. I am RN (Indian) with 12years of experience. Did BSN in USA. Presently working in home care with H4 EAD. I wonder I have 4of these criteria. My employer is ready to file for me. If I am able to file My PD will be same in 2006 or not? Please reply me.


    In order to qualify for EB2 based on exceptional ability, the beneficiary must first meet at least three of the following criteria:

    A) A degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability

    B) At least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which s/he is being sought

    C) A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation

    D) Evidence of receipt of a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability

    E) Evidence of membership in professional associations

    F) Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations


    Thank you

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  2. @Sanj- Unfortunately I do not think that an EB2 would be successful. The criteria that you list are where the USCIS starts. Even if you have at least three of the above, USCIS will then evaluate all the evidence you submitted in its totality to determine whether you have a degree of expertise significantly above that normally encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.

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  3. Thank you, Mu . I appreciate your time.

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  5. Hi! Mu, I am Indian born graduate nurse and I am looking for job in USA. Could you please suggest me am I eligible to apply for EB-3 visa as a fresh applicant.
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi! Mu, I am Indian born graduate nurse and I am looking for job in USA. Could you please suggest me am I eligible to apply for EB-3 visa as a fresh applicant.
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete