On August 17, 2018, USCIS Acknowledged that STEM OPT Is Possible for Third-Party Placement
By: Roujin Mozaffarimehr
On August 17, 2018, the USCIS issued an announcement clarifying and revising two points with regard to reporting responsibilities and worksite locations for Optional Practical Training for STEM Students (STEM OPT).
- Employers are now required to report termination of employment or departure within 5 business days.Worksite Location:
- STEM OPT holders “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, including that the employer has and maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student.”
It appears that the USCIS is reverting to its previous policy with regard to STEM OPT worksite locations, which had changed in January 2018: the USCIS had updated its STEM OPT guidance on its website claiming that work at a place other than the employer’s offices would not meet the STEM OPT training requirements. This was a stark departure from USCIS policy that aligned with the STEM OPT regulations of May 2016. The STEM OPT regulations require a bona fide employer-employee relationship with an employer but does not require the placement to be restricted to the employer’s offices or headquarters.
The USCIS states that it will evaluate STEM OPT placements on a case-by-case basis to ensure the bona fide employer-employee relationship is met. MPLG is following these developments closely. Please feel free to reach out to us directly should they have any questions about this update or the STEM OPT requirements.