Alterations to Immigration policy for Foreign Students and Exchange Visitors

According to the recently released policy memorandum by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), unlawful presence of foreign students and exchange visitors entering the U.S. in valid F, J and M status will be calculated and accounted for. This new policy will come into effect on August 9, 2018. As per the new policy, anyone who has been granted Duration of Stay (D/S) in F, J, or M status will deemed to be in unlawful presence under one of the following circumstances whichever accrues first: 

  • The day after the student/ exchange visitors no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after the grace period after completing the course of study, program, or practical training;
  • The day after the person’s I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an Immigration Judge orders the person deported or removed.

The USCIS further updated its STEM OPT 2016 policy for F-1 student’s work location. Earlier, a STEM OPT worker was permitted to work at any offsite placement including a third-party office. The employer was expected to complete Form I-983, train and supervise the student.  Regulations did not specify whether training or supervision of the worker can be conducted at third-party office and the offsite placement was not specifically prohibited. Hence, to conclude such work activities were considered as legally permissible. However, as per the USCIS’ recent update, a STEM OPT worker should be placed only at a worksite of the employer as it will be easier for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to visit the worksite.

Poorvi Chothani, Esq., Managing Partner & Pradnya Sawant, Associate

Keywords: Immigration, Exchange Visitors, STEM OPT, USCIS, Duration of Stay

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