Good news for STEM course aspirants as they can stay back longer in US

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STEM OPT extension is the only post-qualification work opportunity that Indian students can avail in the US.

The US Court has recently ruled to uphold the legality of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, including the STEM extension. The program provides the students with a chance to acquire job training related to their academic field after graduation. 

This STEM extension is the only way for a work opportunity to be available to students in the US after they complete their qualifications and hence is a major factor in attracting international students. Many of whom are from India.

Eligible students can opt and apply for a stay extension of up to 12 months by getting an OPT employment authorization before completing their academic studies. STEM students are eligible to obtain an extension of 24 months, taking the total authorized working time to 3 years.

The case came to light as the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union (Wash Tech) challenged a specific OPT rule stating that it was beyond the scope of the F-1 visa class issued to international students.

The US Court of Appeals held that “…the 2016 rule is reasonably related to the nature and purpose of the F-1 visa,”  reported Economic TimesThe rule imposes strict requirements to ensure a direct relationship between the F-1 student’s practical training and his or her coursework,” it added. 

Here is the link and information from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services site that provides eligibility for the STEM OPT Extension, how to apply, what happens after receiving a STEM OPT Extension, STEM OPT Employer requirements and responsibilities etc.

Here is the link and information from the official site of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States that provides STEM designated degree program list. According to the site, DHS allows students studying STEM OPT courses an additional 60 days of unemployment that can be availed during the 24-month STEM OPT extension period.

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