24 months stem opt form i983

Does Consulting Job qualify for 24 Months STEM OPT Extension?

24 Months STEM OPT is a Go! May 10, 2016 is here and it’s time to apply for 24 Months STEM OPT Extension. Students on OPT are finding out that it’s challenging to complete the form I983. There’s more questions at this point then answers.

Questions:

  • I work at client site through an IT consulting company. Can I apply for OPT Extension?
  • Who should sign the form – My employer or client manager?
  • My DSO is not providing guidance on these topics. Where can I get sample i983?

In this video, I cover the following topics:

  • Form I-983 ( 7 pages long)
  • Consultants and Self-Employment Jobs in STEM OPT
  • DHS comments on Types of employment allowed for STEM OPT Extension.
  • Caution Ahead. Plan accordingly.

Video – STEM OPT Extension and Form I-983

Types of Employment in STEM OPT Extension

Here’s the response from DHS about types of employment  allowed during STEM OPT Extension period

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).

If you are working on OPT or 17 months OPT as a consultant then talk to an attorney (Ask an Immigration Attorney) or your employer to sort things out.

When DSO reviews your training plan, they may not know about client sites, contract jobs, types of employment and approve your I-20 for STEM OPT Extension.

But, you could get RFE when applying for H1B to prove that you were employed by the same employer who signed the Training Plan for STEM OPT Extension. So, be warned and make plans to avoid issues in the future.

I’m merely reporting what I read from response and it better safe then feeling sorry later when it comes to Immigration.