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OPT STEM students cannot work @ client sites: USCIS

OPT STEM students

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has given a fresh update for immigration policy and said that overseas OPT STEM students cannot work at client sites. This is a change in the employer obligations interpretation, informed the USCIS on its website.

The latest policy is applicable to the 2 years optional practical training OPT extension available to STEM degree holders. STEM included Mathematics, Engineering, Technology, and Science graduates, as quoted by the Times of India. They cannot work at the client sites of the employer now.

The crisp message is that business consultancies or even Tech firms could find it tough to hire such students. Social media has already been stormed by students who are anxious as they have already obtained OPT extension. There is lack of clarity as of now whether the latest interpretation will be applicable to them also.

The core of the latest interpretation is that OPT students are actually interns under training. Thus they cannot be employed at sites of clients.

USCIS has specified instructions pertaining to training obligations of the employer. It elaborates that training must be held onsite at the place of business of the employer. It can also be held at worksites where ICE – US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is authorized to hold site visits. This is to ensure that the requirements of the OPT are being fulfilled.

The training cannot be held at worksite or place of business of the client of the employer. The reason is that ICE lacks authority for sites visits to such places, it adds. Form 1-982 was mandatory to be signed by the employer and the student. But it was not clearly specified that students could not work at sites of clients.

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