DHS to improve training opportunities for foreign students in STEM fields

17 March, 2016

DHS training opportunities for Foreign Students in USA
The US DHS has published a concluding regulation on 11th March 2016, for strengthening and improving the OPT program for foreign students in STEM fields.

The final regulation has replaced the existing 2008 interim concluding regulation and changes the latest rule regarding the OPT for F-1 students who had finished graduation in STEM degree. The regulation was published on 9th March 2016 to Federal Register for inspection from the public and would come into effect on 10th May 2016.

The concluding regulation extends the STEM OPT extension from the present 17 months to two years. Moreover, the concluding regulation also includes the following improvements and protections.

  • Students who had completed their degree by an institution which is accredited by the US education department and which is certified by SEVP might apply for an extension of STEM OPT.
  • Students who had got an extra qualifying degree from an accredited institution could apply for a second extension of STEM OPT.
  • Students could use earlier earned degree to apply for an extension of STEM OPT.
  • Employers who are participating in the STEM related OPT program should integrate formal training program that includes solid learning objectives with proper oversight.
  • Students and employers should report material reforms in the training programs.
  • Students should work at least 20 hours every week for an employer in order to qualify.
  • Students are allowed a limited period of unemployment during the starting period of post completion of OPT and extension of STEM OPT.
  • All employers under STEM OPT should participate in the E- Verify program of the DHS.

On 11th March 2016, the SEVP would introduce an STEM-related OPT hub on DHS Study in the States. This hub would include the resources for school officials, students, and employers.

SEVP monitors around one million foreign students and their dependents who are pursuing vocational or academic education in the US. It is also responsible for certifying the schools and the programs that register these students.   The US DOS also monitors the exchange visitors on J-1 visa and the dependents and foreign exchange visitor programs.

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Tags: students, study
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