New F-1 Optional Practical Training STEM Rules Go Into Effect on May 10, 2106

Starting May 10, 2016, certain F-1 students who have completed their degrees can obtain extended post graduate work experience in their field using Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) beyond the 1 year period available to all graduates of bachelor degree programs.  Graduates in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can obtain a 24 month extension of OPT under new rules which become effective on May 10, 2016.

Under these new STEM rules, STEM graduates must receive a wage similar to U.S. workers doing similar work, must be employed by a U.S. employer who participates in the USCIS E-Verify program, and must be employed under an employer designed training program for the benefit of the student.  The training program must have goals and objectives, a means to measure student progress, and a supervision structure to oversee student activities.  The employer must certify that the student is not replacing a part time or full time U.S. worker.