OPT

STEM list expanded

Recently, the DHS updated and expanded the STEM list  . Inclusion on the STEM list allows a 17 month extension of one’s OPT if you are employed by an eVerify employer.

DHS announces plans impacting highly skilled immigrants

As part of President Obama’s public claims to foster legal immigration and encourage entrepreneurship, the DHS announced several planned reforms to achieve these goals without the need for  legislative action. We applaud the goals of the administration and these planned reforms and just hope that the culture of no which so permeates the agency at the service center levels are not able to quickly thwart the Preseident’s plans in much the same way that Senator Grassley and his cohorts in Congress would most assuredly stop these reform measures if Congressional action were required.

STEM list expanded

ICE recently announced that additional degree programs including computer science are being added to the STEM list making graduates of those programs eligible for the 17 month OPT extension program.

USCIS issues FAQ on “cap-gap” rules

With the H-1b cap season in full swing, the USCIS has issued a new set of FAQ on the subject of “cap-gap”.  A “cap-gap” occurs when a foreign student’s EAD card, issued pursuant to the OPT rules, expires prior to October 1, 2011. The USCIS has adopted rules that provides for an automatic extension that allows students to continue to be employed under the OPT provisions as long as their sponsoring employer has timely filed an H-1b cap subject petition that is properly receipted. An employer should be careful that the employee’s I-9 form is properly completed in this situation. We applaud the USCIS for its “cap-gap” policy.