USCIS Takes About-Face on Third-Party Placement for STEM OPT Extensions

Published: 08/17/2018

Source: http://bit.ly/2Pi1Smw

USCIS has updated its website regarding STEM OPT Students working at third-party sites. I’ll be going live on Facebook today, August 17, 2018 at 12:00 Central time to discuss at https://www.facebook.com/rnlawgroupUS/

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DHS is clarifying that STEM OPT participants may engage in a training experience that takes place at a site other than the employer’s principal place of business as long as all of the training obligations are met.

As before, the employer must have and maintain a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student.

DHS will review on a case-by-case basis whether the student will be a bona fide employee of the employer signing the Training Plan, and verify that the employer that signs the Training Plan is the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience.

IMPORTANT: The restriction on staffing and temp agencies remains the same. This means not all third-party employment can qualify for STEM OPT. A Staffing or Temp agency may not contract students out to work at a customer or client site. Staffing or Temp agencies can only employ STEM OPT students in-house.

Consulting arrangements should be distinguished from staffing / temp agencies such that consulting firms should be allowed to place a student at a third-party site as long as the student will be a bona fide employee of the consulting firm and the consulting firm  has sufficient resources and trained or supervisory personnel available to provide appropriate training in connection with the specified training opportunity at the location(s) where the student’s practical training experience will take place, as specified in the Form I-983. The “personnel” who may provide and supervise the training experience may be either employees of the consulting firm, or contractors who the consulting firm has directly retained to provide services to the consulting firm.

The following paragraph has been removed from the website:

For the same reason, online or distance learning arrangements may not be used to fulfill the employer’s training obligation to the student. For instance, 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. Similarly, 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.

Source: http://bit.ly/2Pi1Smw

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