Thursday, October 15, 2015

OPT STEM Extension Expected to Continue

By Jordan Friedman
World Education Services

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is expected to re-authorize the Optional Practicing Training (OPT) extension that allows STEM-degree holders to remain in the U.S. for an additional 17 months after working for a year in their field.

As we reported on our blog last month, a District Court judge recently vacated the rule that allows STEM graduates to stay in the U.S. for training for an extended period of time. (You can also check out our Q&A with a legal expert on the subject.) Specifically, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal said the STEM OPT Extension Program doesn’t comply with the Administrative Procedure Act and therefore revoked the extension program, effective Feb. 12, 2016.

But now, according to the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the Department of Homeland Security has sent its proposed regulation to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which has 90 to 120 days to review it. A comment period of 30 to 60 days will follow.

Although the official contents of the proposed regulation have not been released, it’s expected to allow the program extension to continue, as well as potentially add benefits such as a longer OPT period and a greater number of degrees that are eligible. This was part of President Barack Obama’s plan, announced earlier this year, to expand the STEM OPT program.

Read more from Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

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