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OIS News - 5/2/2018

USCIS Tightens Language on Employer-Employee Relationships and Third-Party Placement for STEM OPT Students

In an unannounced change to standing policy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently updated language on their website which narrowed the scope and definition of the STEM OPT employer-employee relationship and the conditions of placing students at third-party worksites for the purposes of STEM OPT. Specifically, the changes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A STEM OPT employer may not assign, or otherwise delegate, its training responsibilities to a non-employer third party (e.g., a client/customer of the employer, employees of the client/customer, or contractors of the client/customer).
  • A student’s STEM OPT experience must occur on-site at the employer’s place of business or worksite(s) at which U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has the authority to conduct site visits. If a student is sent to work at a different worksite location as part of the required individualized training plan, ICE must be permitted to access the location. Therefore, any training experience cannot take place at an employer’s client or customer worksite as ICE would not have the authority to conduct a site visit at such locations.
  • The employer that signs the Form I-983 training plan must be the same entity that provides the required training experience to the STEM OPT student.

The full text of USCIS’s updated policy on STEM OPT can be found on their website. OIS strongly encourages individuals who are currently on or considering a future application for STEM OPT to review this information to better understand USICS’s policy and how it may impact your personal situation.

Questions regarding this update or STEM OPT in general can be directed to stemopt@uic.edu.