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F-1 Student Visa, Optional Practical Training Risks Continue

Although there have been discussions for some time that the Trump Administration would change the rules regarding Optional Practical Training (OPT), OPT did not show up in the most recent “regulatory agenda.” Nevertheless, the Administration has been putting limits on F-1 students in other ways. Those changes, at least in part, are responsible for a … Continue Reading

New Foreign-Student Work Restriction Has Outsourcing and Staffing Firm Suing

The Trump Administration is continuing its assault on outsourcing and staffing firms. The latest Administration focus is on the STEM OPT program. In April 2018, without notice, USCIS made certain changes to its website. It declared, among other things, that a STEM OPT employer “may not assign, or otherwise delegate, its training responsibilities to a … Continue Reading

State Department to Release New Visa Restrictions on Students from China

New restrictions on visas for citizens of China are expected as soon as June 11, 2018, according to the Associated Press. These restrictions, the report states, would target students in high-tech fields such as robotics and aviation. The changes would be part of the Trump Administration’s national security strategy to protect American’s intellectual property and … Continue Reading

Major Change in USCIS Policy on Accrued Unlawful Presence Likely to Impact F, M and J Status Holders

USCIS has posted a policy memorandum that will radically change current policy for students and exchange visitors.  The policy makes it much more likely that those in F, M or J status will find themselves accruing unlawful presence and becoming subject to three and ten-year bars to admission. Under current policy there is a distinction between … Continue Reading

Administration Pushes to Add Extreme Vetting to All Nonimmigrant Visa Applications

Proposed changes to Form DS-160 would include aspects of “extreme vetting” in all nonimmigrant visa applications. The public has until May 29, 2018, to submit comments to the Trump Administration proposal. Visa applicants would be required to submit five years of social media handles on specific platforms and five years of phone numbers and email … Continue Reading

USCIS Introduces Onsite Training Restriction on Staffing Agencies Hiring OPT STEM Students

The 2016 STEM regulations made it more difficult for staffing agencies and consulting companies to sponsor graduating F-1 OPT employees for the two-year STEM OPT extension. According to the regulations, the training plan must be signed by the entity that has a bona fide employment relationship with the student and the bona fide employer must … Continue Reading

U.S. Expected To Add Restrictions on Visas in New Year

Uncertainty regarding employment-related immigration regulations has not ebbed with the arrival of the New Year. Employers may be losing employees to the possible elimination of H-4 EADs and STEM extensions. Major changes in the H-1B cap process, including pre-registration and new eligibility standards, also are said to be on the horizon. The Trump Administration reportedly … Continue Reading

Department of Homeland Security to Tighten H-1B and Other Regulations

The Trump Administration’s Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions for the DHS contains close to 60 items. Published in the spring and fall, the Unified Agenda gives information about regulations that are under development. The latest iteration represents President Donald Trump’s promise to amend and eliminate “regulations that are ineffective, duplicative, and obsolete” … Continue Reading

Changes in FAM May Make it More Difficult for Students with Pending H-1B Cases to Travel

The Department of State has revised its guidance for Consular Officers on the issuance of student visas, emphasizing that the officer must be “satisfied that applicant intends to depart [the U.S.] upon completion of the approved activity.” The guidance states:  If you are not satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart the United … Continue Reading

The FICA Tax Exemption for Non-Resident Aliens in the U.S. Under F, J, M, or Q Visas

A common issue for employers of non-resident aliens authorized to work in the U.S. is whether (and when) such individuals are exempt from FICA taxation.   Under the Internal Revenue Code, a nonresident alien (“NRA”) in the United States under a teacher, researcher, trainee, or student visa is exempt, within certain limitations, from FICA taxation. To … Continue Reading

DHS STEM OPT Extension Rule Survives Legal Challenge

Finding that although the F-1 visa plaintiffs had standing to sue and that their claim was ripe, they had not alleged sufficient facts to support their claim, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled, upholding the Department of Home Security’s 2016 STEM OPT Rule Program in … Continue Reading

Court Ruling on DHS STEM OPT Extension Rule Expected Soon

A motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new rule governing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) program has been granted in part and denied in part. Washington Alliance of Technology Workers v. DHS, No. 1:16-cv-01170-RBW (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2017). Judge Reggie B. Walton issued … Continue Reading
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