• OPT Students working through Consulting firms may not qualify for STEM Extension

    Effective May 10th 2016, 24 month OPT extension is available for students currently completed their initial 12-month OPT. It's a good news to many who are seeking STEM extension and whose h1b petition is not picked in lottery. Along with the long 3 year OPT duratuon, the new rule also introduced complications to the OPT students working for consulting firms.

    Most of the OPT students, especially from India, will be working for IT consulting firms where the student will be trained and placed at one of their client locations. This is called EVC (Employer-Vendor-Client) or EVVC model accordingly, where your Employer, Client and any vendors between them are the entities involving in your placement and your actual work location is the client location.

    Following is the text from the govt's Federal register's website, which talks about the employment model restriction for OPT Employment.

    Source: New Rule text for STEM OPT

    There are several aspects of the STEM OPT extension that do not make it apt for certain types of arrangements, including multiple employer arrangements, sole proprietorships, employment through “temp” agencies, employment through consulting firm arrangements that provide labor for hire, and other relationships that do not constitute a bona fide employer-employee relationship. One concern arises from the difficulty individuals employed through such arrangements would face in complying with, among other things, the training plan requirements of this rule. Another concern is the potential for visa fraud arising from such arrangements. Furthermore, evaluating the merits of such arrangements would be difficult and create additional burdens for DSOs. Accordingly, DHS clarifies that students cannot qualify for STEM OPT extensions unless they will be bona fide employees of the employer signing the Training Plan, and the employer that signs the Training Plan must be the same entity that employs the student and provides the practical training experience. DHS recognizes that this outcome is a departure from SEVP's April 23, 2010 Policy Guidance (1004-03).



    The text in bold clearly says two things -

    1) You must be hired by an employer as a real employee/full-time employee. (Working at 3rd party client site for 40 hrs throughout the period will not establish you as a bone fide employee)
    2) Your Practical training experience (throughout OPT period) must be given by your employer - not by a client or your vendor.

    So, the EVC or EVV...C business models will disqualify you for 24 month OPT extension facility.

    Few other things from the new STEM extension rule are -

    1) Voluntary (Un-paid) employment is not eligible for STEM extension. So you have to get paid all the time during your whole OPT period.
    2) You need to submit I-983 form to the DSO.
    3) Total allowable unemployment period during OPT and OPT extension is increased to 150 days.

    Student planning to applying for STEM OPT extension are advised to work with your employer and lawyer to check if your employment is eligible for extension or not.

    From now onward there might be a rise is students who want to applying for full time with real american companies.
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Major of the student and job both should be in same stream for new 24 month OPT Extention...it's a major setback for us EE students in USA..
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      It is not written on USCIS Website. How did you get the information?
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Hello Ajay, If we are in Employer client (EC) model, as my Employer is the prime vendor for the telecom client. and it is a very huge company.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Please comment guys
    1. Aaaron's Avatar
      Aaaron -
      Can you please link the source in comments.
      Thanks
    1. Picchifruit's Avatar
      Picchifruit -
      so you could prove employer-employee relationship then you are good to go ! No worries then !!!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      If your employer can attest to your training plan then there will be no problem. Don't worry.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      how sure are you guys with this rule
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      To the idiot that wrote this article don"t spread false rumors by misinterpreting stuff. Let's say a civil engg firm employs an OPT and the OPT guy starts working at one of the construction sites for a client. Is the OPT not gaining experience here? Who is the employer here - the civil engineering firm not the client. Same for an OPT that is working at a client site.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      it is not in USCIS website ,,
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      cherukuri_ajay, please provide your Attorney ID number and the United States jurisdiction in which you are licensed to practice law, as it is necessary for all readers of this article to verify your credentials for making the unfounded assertions and false conclusions to which you jump from them. Thanks.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      this is the end of fake consultants and their fake experiences. I'm glad.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      What an assole you are, you half knowledge idiot, you are saying people can't work for Tcs Ibm Infosys and sometimes even Microsoft as an opt because they might be doing projects for some other clients
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Can you share the official site for this???
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      cherukuri_ajay, please provide your Attorney ID number and the United States jurisdiction in which you are licensed to practice law, as it is necessary for all readers of this article to verify your credentials for making the unfounded assertions and false conclusions to which you jump from an out-of-context snippet from a remark in the Federal Register. Your ill-founded conclusion fails to explain that GENUINE IT consultancies (and not mere staffing firms do indeed qualify as bona fide employers from the very inception of the H-1B program in this land, so you should read the 2010 Neufeld Memo before you speak, and then you'd know that "right to control" is the sine qua non of a valid employer-employee relationship, which my firm and many other IT consultancies duly maintain in our relationship with our trainee software engineer employees. Please stop wrongly scaring people. Thanks.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Has anyone found any workaround.
      What if i am a consultant working at my employer office itself.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I couldn't find this in any official website.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Omg by the way are there any those many full time job by the way for the fresher's like me entry point as a full-time employee who the hell would give?
    1. Vikky's Avatar
      Vikky -
      Do we need to work as full time employee for 12 months to get OPT extention or
      Is that fine if we have a full time job by the time of opt extension time ?
      Please do respond
    1. chindi's Avatar
      chindi -
      So,EC (employer client) model is fine?
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