On January 23rd, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted DHS' motion to extend the Stay Order of the STEM OPT until May 10th, 2016.
According to the August 12th, 2015 ruling, the Order vacated on procedural grounds, an interim final rule promulgated by DHS, but it stayed the effect of vacatur for six months in order to allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to cure procedural defects. The Stay was set to expire on February 12th, 2016. The 90 day extension granted DHS time to issue a new rule thereby avoiding a regulatory gap.
According to DHS, there are approximately 23,000 STEM OPT participants; 2,300 dependents of STEM OPT participants; 8,000 pending applications for STEM OPT extensions; and 434,000 foreign students who may be eligible to apply for STEM OPT authorizations. If the stay was not extended, many of these people would be adversely affected, either by losing their existing work authorization, not being able to apply for the OPT extension, or not knowing whether they will be able to benefit from the extension in the future.
Additional fallout would be that the U.S. Tech Sector would lose employees and U.S. educational institutions could become less attractive to foreign students. While the Court does not doubt that U.S. Tech workers might feel some adverse effect from a ninety-day extension, it finds that the "balance of equities" (one of the legal standards) clearly weighs in favor of an extension.
Now we need wait and to see how quickly the DHS will be able to review the comments and offer a FINAL rule . . . TO READ THE MEMORANDUM, PLEASE CLICK HERE . . .
The Nachman Phulwani Zimovcak (NPZ) Law Group (VISASERVE) continues to assist ISO staff at academic organizations across the country including foreign students and their friends and families with U.S. and Canadian immigration law issues. Please feel free to contact our immigration lawyer staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us anytime at 201-670-0006 (x107).