STEM OPT Rule Granted Extension

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and freedigitalphotos.net

 Many foreign students and recent graduates are anxiously awaiting news regarding temporary employment following graduation. Students who complete a degree program in the United States are permitted to apply for up to one year of related “Optional Professional Training,” (OPT) temporary work in a field related to their studies. Students graduating from programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have been permitted to apply for an additional 17 months of OPT since 2008.

However, in a recent federal lawsuit, DHS was found by the Court to have implemented the policy without proper “public notice and comment,” and was ordered to complete the process by February 12, 2016. The Court has granted DHS an extension until May 10, 2016 to complete review of the 50,500 comments it received, and publish the new rule. The final proposed rule was sent to the Office of Management and Budget of the White House for review on February 5, 2016, and is expected to be published in the Federal Register shortly.

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