Perspective: Kirton McConkie Law Blog

Extension of post-graduation OPT for STEM students on F-1 visas invalid

On August 12, 2015, in the case of Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia held that a 2008 DHS interim final rule extending the period of post-graduation optional practical training (OPT) by 17 months for STEM students on F-1 visas was invalid because DHS promulgated the rule without notice and comment. However, the court found that vacating the rule immediately would cause substantial hardship for F-1 STEM students and would create a major labor disruption for the technology sector. As such, the court ordered the 2008 rule and its subsequent amendments be vacated, but that the vacatur be stayed until February 12, 2016, during which time DHS may submit the rule for proper notice and comment.

Kirton McConkie’s Employment – Immigration Section will continue monitoring developments as DHS promulgates new rules for OPT STEM extensions.