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New rule extends stay for STEM OPT students

There are many reasons why people come to the United States from their home country. Education is one of those reasons. Individuals who seek to obtain degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, are particularly welcome as some U.S. businesses are looking to employ people from those fields. A new rule could make it easier for some who fit this profile, to remain in the U.S. for a longer period of time, to work.

The rule, which was published last week, and will go into effect on May 10, makes it possible for those who are earning degrees in STEM fields, to remain in the U.S. for three years. During that time they will receive on-the-job training.

This new rule, which extends the stay already in place under a 2008 rule, from 29-months to 36, seeks to strike a balance between bringing immigrant workers in while not taking jobs from full-or part-time permanent and temporary U.S. workers. To that end it specifically prohibits the practice. The rule also indicates that STEM OPT students who do get a job will be paid an amount “commensurate” to American workers.

There is another reason why this program could be beneficial to an immigrant. The reason is that an extension of the period of time in which they can stay after graduating from a U.S. college, will provide individuals interested in securing an H-1B visa—of which there are a limited amount each year—additional opportunities to apply.

Just as there are multiple reasons why someone comes to the U.S., there could be multiple ways for them to stay temporarily or permanently. An immigration lawyer can be of assistance in identifying those options.

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