On Monday November 29, 2020, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled against The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers who sought to bar international students from working on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
The union claims that OPT privileges foreign nationals over U.S. citizens in the job market as employers do not have to pay for benefits owed to nationals, resulting in cheaper compensation packages.
The results of OPT being discontinued would have been catastrophic, as thousands of highly specialized persons would be siphoned out of the American economy.
WHAT IS OPT?
Optional Practical Training is a program that allows international students and graduates to work in their field of study for one year in the United States.
Individuals on a student visa (F-1 or M-1) can apply to the program after being enrolled in a full-time degree at an accredited educational institution.
N.B. Those on an M-1 visa can only partake in the training after completing their course of study.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR OPT?
Most programs entitle persons to work in the U.S. for one year.
Those from STEM programs (science, technology, engineering and math) can apply for a two-year extension. You can apply for OPT after each level of education (bachelor’s and master’s).
Speak with your Designated School Officer (DSO) to assess your eligibility and get advice on seeking authorization through USCIS.
We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Send us an E-mail or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.