As we reported previously (see this post), USCIS was sued by a group of individuals who claimed that the STEM OPT extension rules (granting an additional 17 months of OPT) where illegal. The Courts have already found that rule making provisions of Federal Law were not followed and required USCIS to undertake a new rule making by February 16, 2016. While everything seems on track so far (Just recently the Office of Management and Budget finished their review of the proposed rule, the last step before publication), the question still remains whether USCIS will be able to get the new rule in place by then, whether the Court will accept the new rule and USCIS efforts and what happens to the people already on STEM OPT extensions once that deadline passes.
To answer that last question, USCIS had previously stated that the STEM OPT cards would remain valid after February 16, 2016 regardless of what happens with the Court. However, just recently, USCIS changed its tune, and they are now saying that the decision of whether those EAD cards remain valid is still under review. This makes the request that USCIS recently made to extend this deadline to May 10, 2016 even more important.
We will update you with any new information as soon as USCIS updates us.
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.
One thought on “STEM OPT Extensions and the February 16, 2016 Deadline”
More importantly, DHS told the COURT that EADs issued under OPT extensions WOULD NOT be valid after vacatur.