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New OPT STEM Extension Regulations Published

Los Angeles immigration attorneys provide information to clientsUSCIS has published the new OPT STEM extension regulations. Unless the US District Court for the District of Columbia objects, these regulations will continue the OPT STEM extension program.

The new regulations make some changes to the program. These changes include:

  • The extensions are now for 24 months instead of 17 months.
  • There is a lifetime maximum of two 24-month extensions, and the second 24-month extension requires a higher degree than the first one.
  • OPT students must work a minimum of 20 hours per week and must work under the same conditions and salaries as the employer’s other employees.
  • OPT STEM extension students must now complete form I-983. This form is used to report information regarding the employment, the employer, and the progress being made in the student’s training. It must be signed by the employer.
  • The employer must attest that it has sufficient resources and personnel available and is prepared to provide appropriate training in connection with the position at the employers place of business, that the OPT student will not replace a US worker, and that the position assists the student in reaching their training goals.
  • USCIS can conduct site visits on a 48-hour notice.
  • The allowable periods of unemployment are now 90 days for the initial OPT and no more than a total of 150 including the 24-month STEM extension.
  • The student must report changes in name, address, employer’s name, employer’s address, in the employer’s FEIN number, in the conditions of employment, and loss of employment within 10 days, and must confirm that there have been no changes every six months.

The new regulations go into effect on May 10, 2016.