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F1 Student Visa

US court takes on DHS over OPT STEM

in Immigration/USA Immigration by

US court takes on DHS over OPT STEM

NEW YORK: A recent US court ruling has made it amply clear that the US government’ OPT stem policy is due to be overhauled and the recent expansion, may soon be rolled back altogether. The recent ruling could well impact tens of thousands of overseas workers, currently employed at IT firms on a student visa and may well result in them being repatriated back to their home countries.

Currently, the department of Homeland security or DHS made it possible for undergraduates currently on F1 visas and graduating with certain STEM degrees to get Optional Practical Training (OPT) work licenses, valid for a period as long as six years, equal to H-1B visa holders. This has come into effect after on February 12, 2016, and while the current court ruling does restrict OPT extension it nevertheless makes it possible for certain STEM undergraduates to obtain a work permit and to remain in the US for a longer period of time…

The decision by U.S. Area Court Judge Ellen Huvelle of the District of Columbia, on August 12, was an exemplary instance of a one-two punch for the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WATW). They really won the claim they had sought against permitting F1 visa understudies graduating with STEM degrees extra OPT time – but with DHS making it amply clear that they want the OPT on par with H 1 visa program, they are bound to argue against the current court ruling and may even appeal the same.

That is on account of the fact that undergraduates bring in more work, are more productive and contribute more to the host country and if the current OPT programs are scrapped, this would lead to students seeking opportunities elsewhere.

The judge, because of the WATW claim to cut short the extra seventeen months of Optional Practical Training for those undergraduates who graduate from certain disciplines, and to restrict it to only twelve months, decided that Government must abandon the current expansion which became effective from last February.

The judge confirmed that the standard used by the Department of Homeland security was inadequate on the grounds that the office neglected to distribute guidelines, and follow official process as mandated by Federal laws, as indicated by Seyfarth Shaw, an immigration law firm.

Recognizing that rolling back the expansion right away would be problematic and hurtful to the nation as a whole the judge decided to give the government some time to come back with a proposal, a period amid which DHS may present the guideline for legitimate open notice and remark to “cure the imperfection”. Meanwhile, DHS has petitioned the court to extend the time for a few more months, by which time they would present arguments in support of their position regarding OPT policies. At the moment, any undergraduate on F I visa, and who have completed one of the disciples shortlisted for STEM, can apply for the OPT program, with a year for non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related projects – or 29 months, for STEM-related projects.

Recently, the DHS began to give work licenses to certain H-4 visa holders who meet the required criteria, as set out by DHS. It’s additionally vital to recall that opposition for H-1B visas has expanded considerably. In 2016 H-1B met its cap within a few months itself, about 65,000 H-1B visas for gifted laborers from abroad and 20,000 visas for F1 undergraduates. The USCIS got roughly 233,000 H-1B petitions, about three times the quantity of accessible visas.

US H1B Visa 2016 News Updates and FAQs

in Immigration/USA Immigration by

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The USCIS received a large number of H1B petitions over the last few weeks, well above the upper cap. According to the US H-1B visa news, random selections along with the lottery was conducted by the USCIS to select over 85000 H-1B petitions in order to complete the work permit cap. So if you are planning to apply for H-1B visa for the next year, you must be wondering about the US H-1B visa quotas for next year. Well, here’s what you need to know about US H-1B visa, the process involved and the criterion for selection.

When will the fiscal year of 2016 for the US H-1B session begin?

According to the US H-1B news and updates, the USCIS started accepting the petitions from April 1st, 2015 itself. On March 12th USCIS also did a press release providing everyone with the details.

Lottery system

There was a lottery for FY 2014 and 2015. Where around 125,000 petitions were filed in FY 2014 and 172,500 petitions were recorded in the year of 2015. As per the news H-1B quota expectedly did not increase for FY 2016, whereas the demand for the same is pretty high.

How to Plan for US H-1B Visa?

Well, it completely depends on what your situation is.

  •    In case you are the student and you are currently on the F1 visa in USA, then all you need to do is register for certain internship programs or apply for OPT employment at a company that can really help you by sponsoring your H-1B visa for the required fiscal year.
  •    If you are a resident of some other country and are planning to apply for the H-1B visa for next year, then it is better for you to start your application process around the end of this year itself. This will provide you with enough time to search for your sponsors, jobs or whatever is required.
  •    If you are already on the H4 or L1 visa in the USA and now you are planning for the H-1B US visa for the coming fiscal year, then here you should consider planning the process around the end of this very year.

What are the new changes introduced in H1B Visa?

There are certain proposed changes to the H-1B visa programs that cater to demand and US economy and these changes are tagged as the Comprehensive Immigration reform.

Below mentioned are certain proposed changes:

  • The H-1B work permit cap is expected to be increased from 65,000 to about 110,000 per year. Along with the certain provisions may have it up to 180,000 where there is an extreme demand.
  • In the case of Advance degree from the USA work permit cap quota is expected to increase from 20,000 to about 25,000.
  • The fee for applying for the H-1b visa might go up to about 10,000 USD.
  • New rules have also been added to avoid any fraudulent moves by the employers while applying for H-1B US Visa.
  • From now on it is compulsory to have LCA posting 30 days before it is been certified.
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