Optional Practical Training (OPT) is the program that provides temporary work authorization in the US for international graduates before other work authorization is obtained (such as a H1-B visa). On August 14 of 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) received a court mandate to stop the post-completion 17-month Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) OPT extension by February 2016, which was established in 2008 in addition to the standard 12-month OPT for all international graduates that was previously available because the agencies had not followed the proper procedures when they began the extension. This could affect employment opportunities for thousands of STEM graduate workers and students at Columbia, and at universities across the country. Read more about this ruling at the National Law Review.

Read the latest updates on the OPT STEM extension here:
November 19, 2015 Union’s comments submitted for enhancing OPT rules
November 11, 2015 Proposed Increase to OPT STEM Extension
October 4, 2015 OPT Info Session Follow-up
August 19, 2015 OPT Information Session and Q&A – Attn: International STEM Students

On October 18th, USCIS  introduced new rules to the OPT STEM extension program and we worked with international student workers to publicly comment on the changes. Read the comments here.

In order to keep grad students updated on the unfolding situation and organize our collective push to get the U.S. government to act favorably on this decision, we held an OPT Information Session and Q&A on Friday, September 18. Below you’ll find video of the event.

We ask that everyone take 5 minutes and fill out this questionnaire. The information collected will help us with work with the International UAW on lobbying for OPT, and related work programs, to be expanded and enhanced.

Click to here to view the anticipated rule-making process for the OPT visa program.

Thank you Michael Cataliotti for speaking at our event, you can contact him at www.cataliottilaw.com | michaelc@cataliottilaw.com