最新回复：2018年4月19日 8点50分 PT
STEM OPT for F-1 Students Restricted to In-House Work Only
By ImmigrationGirl April 19, 2018 F-1 Students 1 Comment
USCIS recently updated its STEM OPT guidance webpage with new information about how it is interpreting the regulations regarding STEM OPT extension eligibility.
The current STEM OPT extension regulation was issued in 2016 and added a formal training plan component with a new requirement of an I-983 form. One of the specific requirements for employers of STEM OPT students is that the employer must have a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student.
USCIS seems to have changed its interpretation of what can qualify as a bona fide employer-employee relationship that particularly impacts staffing, temp agencies, and consulting firms.
Bona fide employer-employee relationship is now interpreted to mean:
The training experience may not take place at the place of business or worksite of the employer’s clients or customers because ICE would lack authority to visit such sites.
The employer may not fulfill its training obligation to provide a structured and guided work-based learning experience by having the student make periodic visits to the employer’s place of business to receive training, while the student is actually working at the place of business or worksite of a client or customer of the employer.
The employer may not fulfill its training obligation by having the student make periodic telephone calls or send periodic email messages to the employer to describe and discuss their experiences at the place of business or worksite of a client or customer of the employer.
Staffing and temporary agencies may seek to employ students under the STEM OPT program, but only if they will be the entity that provides the practical training experience to the student at its own place of business.
The basis for this interpretation is that (1) the employer that signs the Form I-983 must be the same entity that provides the practical training experience to the student; (2) the student’s practical training experience must be provided by the employer’s own trained or supervisory personnel; and (3) ICE must be given authority to conduct employer site visits to ensure that the employer is meeting program requirements.
Whether such a change in interpretation can be accomplished through a simple website update with no advance notice remains to be seen. In the meantime, I expect those with H-1B petitions selected in the lottery this year to be questioned regarding their STEM OPT experience. It is unclear how schools will react for students who have already been approved for STEM OPT based on off-site work.
It does not appear that the Study in the States website has updated its own guidance yet at
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