- The USCIS has now taken back it’s earlier ruling with respect to OPT training STEM student can avail OPT training at the employer’s workplace or the employer’s client’s worksite
- The ruling was displayed on the USCIS website
Students heading to the USA for higher studies can now heave a sigh of relief as the USCIS reversed the stance it took in April regarding optional practical training (OPT) training.
This is important in particular to STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math students. Now students can be trained at the employer’s workplace or the employer’s client’s worksite.
Changes Proposed for OPT Training in April 2018
Earlier the USCIS had introduced a policy by which international STEM students would no longer be able to receive OPT at an employer’s client site. The reason stated for this was that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not have the authority to inspect employer client worksites.
Employers were also directed to oversee the student’s training themselves. Thus, students would no longer be able to call in or email reports from client sites. This made distance and online learning arrangements harder.
Interestingly this ruling was not introduced in the form of a formal change in regulations but was displayed on the USCIS website.
The USCIS has now taken back it’s earlier ruling with respect to OPT training provided on employer client worksites. While students can now be placed at an employer’s client worksite their training must still be overseen by the employer.
When placing a student in OPT training, a bona fide employer-employee relationship must be demonstrated. Students are not allowed to work on a ‘volunteer basis’. If the employer-employee relationship is not maintained the student risks being debarred from re-entering the USA for several years.
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