Seminar on new STEM-OPT guidelines
(Left) Attorney Manjunath Gokare is honored by TAMA officers for presenting his seminar to the community.
Whether you are an international student getting your college degree or an employer, you must know the new guidelines from the United States Center for Immigration Services (USCIS), advised attorney Manjunath Gokare of the Atlanta-based Gokare Law Firm. Gokare’s presentation was called an “Interactive Seminar on Compliance Challenges Associated with the New STEM-OPT Rule and Its Impact on IT Consulting Companies.” About 80 students and several representatives of IT consulting companies attended the event hosted by the Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA) on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at Skyland Business Center, Cumming, Georgia.
Viju Chiluveru, past Director and a long-time volunteer of TAMA, welcomed the participants and explained the format of the seminar. Shilpa Gokare, Attorney at Law at Gokare Law Firm introduced Manjunath Gokare. After a 45-minute presentation about the changes in OPT rules, participants formulated their questions during a coffee break, and came back for a lively and informative Q&A session.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. International students who successfully complete a bachelor's or higher degree within the United States can apply for this. Under the prior rules, a student could be authorized to receive up to 12 months of practical training. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) extension was available for 17 months, but on May 10, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made several major changes to the rule:
● The OPT extension period for STEM OPT students is increased from 17 months to 24 months.
● Previously only one STEM extension was allowed; now two 24-month STEM OPT extensions are allowed during a student’s lifetime—for the second extension, the completed degree must be at a higher level.
● OPT student must get training or work at employer’s work site.
The new rule also makes other significant changes that directly impact OPT students and their employers, so people affected are encouraged to contact their attorneys. If you have a question about these changes, you may email email@example.com.
Chairman Ram Maddi, President Venkat Meesala, and several Directors and officers of TAMA’s Executive Committee came to the podium to recognize the volunteer service of Manujath Gokare and his team. This was one of several seminars on contemporary issues that TAMA has been organizing, besides regular cultural events, that are relevant and useful to the whole community.
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