The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has successfully published its final rule relating to STEM OPT extensions in the Federal Register as of 11 May 2016. This final rule has established that the STEM extension is now up to 24 months; a potential increase of 7 months over the previous rule.
The new rule establishes employer requirements that were not present during the prior STEM OPT guidance. These requirements are handled via Form I-983 and you can find more information on this HERE; directly from the DHS. Form I-983 will be administered by the employee’s Designated School Official (DSO) at their college or university in conjunction with your, employer, input.
With the extension of eligible time on STEM OPT, an individual may now have up to 36 months of OPT work authorization; original post-completion 12 months extended by up to 24 months of the STEM extension. This could prove to be a significant benefit to your organization with the potential for additional attempts in the H-1B lottery. The possibility exists as well for some individuals to move straight from F-1 OPT status to permanent residency (green card).
At Immigration Support Services we are working closely with our clients to ensure they take full advantage of the benefits of this new program. We would be happy to talk with you about your needs as well; please call us anytime at 800-437-7313.