STEM OPT Extension Rule Survives Legal Challenge

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By: Gladys V. Gervacio, Esq

The rule that allows international students who graduate with science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees to work in the U.S. for up to three years survived a legal challenge.

Plaintiffs The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers argued that the rule that created the optional practical training (OPT) program allows employers to skirt the H-1B temporary visa program for high-skilled workers without providing labor protections for U.S. workers.

On April 19, 2017, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that although the plaintiffs had standing to sue and that their claim was ripe, they had not alleged sufficient facts to support their claim. The court upheld the Department of Home Security’s 2016 STEM OPT Rule Program in a detailed opinion, concluding that the rule was within the statutory authority of the DHS. Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. DHS, No. 16-1170 (D.D.C. Apr. 19, 2017).

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