Month: October 2015

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Proposed Rule would Extend STEM Extension to 24 Months

A new rule was proposed today seeking to extend the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension from the current limit of 17 months to a maximum of 24 months. This proposed rule would extend the period of time that international students who have graduated from US universities with their Bachelor’s, Master’s and/or Doctorate degree in a STEM field can be authorized to work in the United States following the completion of their degree. In addition, the proposed rule renders international students who earn a subsequent STEM degree at a higher education level eligible for a renewed 24 month period of work authorization; at present, the 17 month STEM OPT is a one-time grant.

This proposed rule is currently in the rule-making process and is open for notice and comment. Anyone who wishes to comment on this proposed may do so for the next 30 days. After the close of the notice and comment period a final version of the rule will be published in the Federal Register. NOTE: The lawsuit filed against the STEM OPT 2008 extension rule is currently on hold until February 2016, allowing the Department of Homeland Security to reissue the STEM OPT rule following the proper notice and comment procedures.

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New Parole Program for Filipino WWII Veterans

As part of President Obama’s November 2014 executive action immigration reform, a new parole program is being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security to allow family members of Filipino WWII veterans to be paroled into the United States. This initiative will allow family members of Filipino and Filipino-American WWII veterans to enter the United States temporarily for family reunification purposes as well as to administer care and support to their aging family members.  This period of parole into the United States is a discretionary, humanitarian form of immigration admission that does not confer family members with a path to residing permanently in the country.

The official date that this parole program is set to take effect has yet to be announced.  However, it is estimated that approximately 6,000 veterans in the United States will be able to take advantage of this program.

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