Clarification of STEM OPT Extension Reporting Responsibilities and Training Obligations
LAW IMM Takeaways:
USCIS has provided clarification about the STEM OPT training requirements by stating that STEM OPT workers may participate in training that takes place at a work site other than the employer’s principal place of business, as long as they meet certain training requirements, such as the employer and student/employee must maintain a bona fide employer-employee relationship. This is similar to the requirement set forth in an H-1B employer-employee relationship. In addition, the USCIS will review on a case-by-case basis if the employee/student will really be a bona fide employee of the employer by making sure that the employer that signs the form I-983 Training Plan is the same company that employs the student and provides the practical training experience. Presumably, that means the employer must maintain direct control over the student/employee’s work schedule and training progress via regular reporting and check-ins.
USCIS also reminds the participating students and employers that if there are any material changes to the terms of employment, they have to be reported to the Designated School Official (DSO) as soon as possible by submitting an updated form I-983 Training Plan. And if the employee/student has either left the country or been terminated from employment, then the employer must notify the DSO within five (5) business days. Also, students have to notify the DSO within ten (10) business days if the employer’s name and address has changed.
Should anyone require further assistance about this clarification about the STEM OPT rules, please do not hesitate to contact our office for further consultation.