Many students have been waiting for the STEM OPT Extension rule that was cancelled by a federal court earlier this year. As you know the New OPT Extension rule for STEM graduates was in review with OMB for some time and it was approved by OMB on October 14th. The actual proposed rule will be formally published to the federal register for comment period on October 19th, 2015. In the meantime, we all can read the PDF version of the proposed rule. Here is a quick summary of what is in the 107 page document. Check out the highlighted screenshots at the end for each of the summary points. We will continue to update the article with subtle points, for now, below are the key items.
Summary of the Proposed New STEM OPT Extension rule by DHS 2015
- 24 Month STEM OPT Extension : In the original proposed rule, STEM OPT Extension period was given for 17 months, now the proposed rule increased that 17 month OPT Extension period for STEM graduates to 24 months .
- E-Verify Requirement : Similar to the original past rule, the 24 month STEM OPT extension is only eligible for students who are employed by an E-Verified employer.
- Addresses Court Ruling that Vacated the 2008 rule : The new proposed rule also mentions that it addresses the court decision that vacated the original 2008 rule on procedural grounds.
- Cap – Gap Relief : The previous cap-gap relief continues to be available in the new rule, similar to previous rule enabling students to automatically extend their F1 status and the employment authorization until October 1st, if they file H1B visa in a timely manner.
- Accredited Schools : The STEM OPT Extension will be available only to students with STEM degrees from accredited schools
- Initiatives to increase the oversight over STEM OPT Extension students by
- Formal Mentoring and Training plans by employers for students in STEM OPT Extension
- Wage Protection for students availing this facility
- Policy Changes to enhance the academic benefit of STEM OPT Extension by
- Increased oversight and policies to gain practical experience that supplement the theoretical knowledge for better positioning to begin students careers in their area of study.
- The proposed policy to make US colleges to be globally competitive.
- 30 Day Comment Period : All the speculations of 90 days, 60 days are gone. It clearly tells that the comment period would be 30 days.
Did I miss any key points ? Add your thoughts .
Screenshots from the actual Proposed New OPT 24 Month STEM Rule