The optional practical training that was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] in April 2008, has now been canceled by the country. This change is going to be implemented in February next year. It was giving a graduate with STEM degree the eligibility to stay in the US for 17 more months, for the program.
The earlier benefit to the students
The rule was brought into force to retain the highly educated foreign nationals who had to leave the country owing to the H1B lottery. However, the OPT STEM program was severely criticized by a group of American scientists, who believe that the rule making process followed in 2008 was faulty as it was made without considering public opinion.
Its impact on them
This has different effect on people at different stage of this program. The court has ordered to make sure that it does not disturb the jobs of those who are already working under this program. At present there is no negative effect of the changed program. DHS is now working on increasing the existing 29 months to 36 months.
With this they hope to give more time to the international students to apply H1B Visa. At this point of time the court’s decision to cancel the OPT extension for the STEM students is being viewed in the negative light by the OPT community.