Immigration Updates - US

F1 visa students shouldn’t be allowed to work for 6 years in US

NEW YORK: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested the District Court in the District of Columbia for more time, till May 10, 2016, to review the comments received on the proposed extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT) time for F1 visa students, while keeping intact the present rules to give work permits after graduating from accredited colleges and universities in the US.

   According to a prior ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle of the District of Columbia, on August 12, 2015, the DHS had to take action by February 12, 2016, to implement new rules for OPT.

   If no action were to be taken by February 12, 2016, the system of giving OPT to students – which is used by students to try get a job in the US and eventually hope to be sponsored for a work visa and permanent residency – would be scrapped immediately. All foreign students after the duration of their program is over would be forced to immediately go back to the country of their origin.

   That’s unlikely to happen, though.

   The lure of studying in the US without any job prospects would be a handicap that most students wouldn’t want to take on; they would prefer studying in other countries instead, like Australia, UK and Canada. Without enrollment of foreign students, many universities in the US would go bankrupt, most would be badly hit financially, forced to cut staff.

   The DHS has now requested the court for more time to review more than 50,000 comments it has received on the proposed move to extend OPT for students graduating with STEM degrees; plus train personnel to deal with the expected rush of OPT applications which would likely ensue.

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