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Why STEM OPT program cancelled?'OPT STEM 17 month extension' introduced by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in April 2008 to save the thousands of Highly educated foreign nationals leaving the country after massive H1B Lottery. This program will issue a 17 months extention to the existing 12 months OPT program for the students in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field, thus by giving time to apply for next year's H1B Quota.
A Group of US Scientists sued the OPT STEM Program in the Court by blaming the wrong rule making process followed by DHS when it implemented this in 2008. DHS implemented this program in kind of emergency situation to stop students leaving the country (due to H1B Lottery) without following the 'Public Opinion/comments' step in the rule making process which court pointed out. Court Invalidated OPT extension due to lack of public opinion.
Complete text of US Court order can be found here >>
Effect on International student using OPT STEM program and prospective studentsDHS have to act by following the proper rule making process (must take public comments) and president have to sign it by Feb 12th. OPT students currently using the 17 months extension and those who are completing the 12 months program should leave the country by Feb 12th incase if DHS haven't taken timely action.
Court allowed DHS enough time to make the rule officially so that it won't disrupt the services of thousands of foriegn student in STEM jobs.
Currently there wont be any negative impact to the students using OPT extension. They can continue in current job using OPT EAD. USCIS will adjudicate your OPT Petition as per current laws which would allow 17 month OPT until Feb 12th 2016.
DHS is working on to increase the existing 29 month extension by 7 more months to make it to 36 months to help international students by giving more time to apply for H1B. During this time, the decision by court is a very bad news to OPT community.