F-1 Cap-Gap Work Authorization

By Angelita Chavez-Halaka and Armando Escobedo Summary F-1 students who filed H-1B Cap-subject petitions may begin accruing unlawful presence if their H-1B petition has not been adjudicated by October 1, 2018 and they continue to work after their work authorization has expired. While the H-1B Cap-subject petition is pending, F-1 students may remain in the U.S. without […]
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Effect of ACICS Loss of Accreditation on STEM OPT

By: Ana Tsareva On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced that it no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This decision affects more than 16,000 international students in the U.S. attending nearly 130 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools and programs […]
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STEM OPT Extension Rule Survives Legal Challenge

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 […]
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STEM OPT Extensions and Third Party Placement

The question that we have increasingly received from our clients is whether there are restrictions on the placement of STEM OPT students at third party client sites. While USCIS and ICE have not issued any definitive guidance on this issue, most practitioners today agree that subject to certain precautions, STEM OPT students can be placed […]
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DHS Issues New Rule Extending OPT Program to 36 Months

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the final OPT STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) extension rule that extends the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for foreign STEM students to 36 months. The F-1 visa students who are enrolled in the STEM fields of study from accredited educational institutions in the United States will be allowed, […]
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New 24-Month Stem OPT Extension

On May 10, 2016, the new 24-month STEM OPT extension took effect. The 24-month extension will replace the 17-month STEM OPT extension previously available to F-1 students who receive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. Under the new program, F-1 students with a qualifying STEM degree will be eligible for 12 months of initial […]
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ICE Created Fake School Leading to Visa Fraud Arrest

Twenty-one brokers, recruiters, and employers were arrested on April 5, 2016 from across the United States, who allegedly conspired with more than a thousand foreign nationals to fraudulently maintain student and obtain foreign worker visas through a “pay-to-stay” New Jersey college. The arrests resulted from an extensive probe led by United States Immigration and Custom’s […]
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DHS released Final Rule on STEM OPT

Upon being granted of additional time to take 50,500 public comments into account regarding STEM OPT regulation by The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, DHS published the final rule on STEM OPT on March 11, 2016. The rule entitled “Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and […]
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