International Education Week is November 15-21, 2015. Celebrate by participating in one or more of the many internationally-focused lectures and cross-cultural activities taking place this week.
The following resources from NAFSA: Association of International Educators may be helpful to those seeking to better understand the recent court ruling and the new proposed STEM OPT rule:
Read the ISchO's announcement about F-1 OPT and STEM OPT below.
The Newcomer's Almanac is a publication of the Interchange Institute and is brought to you each month compliments of the International Scholars Office. You must have an MIT certificate to access the newsletter.
November edition - topics include Background to Today's News, Thanksgiving, and the Rules of American Football.
October edition - topics include Science and Politics, Halloween, Columbus Day, and helping your child learn English.
September edition - topics include "The Invisible Primary," Labor Day, the Jewish High Holy Days, and Vocabulary for the First Day of School.
By now you may have heard about a decision by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The court ruled that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not follow proper administrative procedure when it issued regulations on F-1 student Optional Practical Training. The rule allows F-1 Students to apply for 17-month STEM extensions or to extend OPT during a gap between the end of OPT and the beginning of an approved H-1B visa petition.
The court gave DHS six months, until February 12, 2016, to republish the regulations with an appropriate notice and call for comments.
It is believed that, before that date, DHS will republish the regulations. The rule will likely state whether existing EAD cards are still valid and whether OPT, STEM OPT and cap gap OPT will be available to future applicants. The regulations will allow for public comment. Parties both in favor of and opposed to longer Practical Training periods will submit comments.
We are optimistic that the US Department of Homeland Security will continue to see the merits of allowing talented former international students to remain in the US for training and to contribute their skills and ideas to the US economy. However, we cannot predict what a government agency will do. The new regulations may contain less favorable provisions, making certain types of OPT more difficult or impossible to get.
Please continue to read the web postings, emails and tweets of the international office at the university that originally authorized your OPT / STEM OPT, as it may post important updates, advice and information.
There are approximately 160 international scholars at MIT on OPT and STEM OPT, so you may be sure that we will also closely monitor the situation and inform you when there is any news.
In the meantime, for many of you who are on STEM OPT that will expire in the first half of 2016, our office has already contacted you or your department/lab/center (DLC) to plan for your next visa, or we will be doing so very shortly.
For those of you whose STEM OPT expires later in 2016, we will begin contacting you and your DLCs in the coming months. We expect to know more before February 2016 about the fate of your existing EAD cards.
Individuals currently on OPT and possibly eligible for STEM OPT at some point in the future, please continue to monitor the news from your home universities. They are best informed about how soon you can and should apply for STEM OPT, while the option is still available.
You may read more about the ruling in the court case here.
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