Council for Global Immigration quoted in article – “Employers Still on Edge over STEM OPT Program”


SHRM, 02/18/2016 –

"Foreign graduates with a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree may soon see more stability in the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. That's a good thing, immigration attorneys say, as these graduates are sorely needed to fill many job openings.

"However, last summer's successful procedural challenge of the program has left some employers wondering whether this option is their best bet.

"In August 2015, a judge struck down on procedural grounds a 2008 regulation allowing foreign students with STEM degrees to work post-graduation. The court gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until Feb. 12, 2016, to submit a new rule for notice and comment.

"...On Jan. 23, a judge gave the DHS more time, making May 10 the deadline to implement the new rule.

"The DHS submitted its final rule with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Feb. 5…A final rule is anticipated by March 11, to allow 60 days for training on the new rule before it takes effect, according to the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI), an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management.

"…Justin Storch, manager of agency liaison at CFGI, said the program benefits students who want to get experience with U.S. employers, benefits employers who can profit from their contributions, and helps universities attract the best and brightest from around the world.

"…But…'Because of the uncertainty with the program, employers are not confident that they can continue to employ certain workers with pending OPT STEM extensions or workers whose current OPT is expiring and will soon be due for an extension.'

"Some employers are relying on H-1B visas to overcome this uncertainty."

To read the full article, click here. ​