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Immigration News Briefs

By Humera Subhani Email By Humera Subhani
April 2016
Immigration News Briefs

DHS Issues Final Rule on STEM OPT
On March 11, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted to the Federal Register its final rule regarding certain F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) extensions. The new rule replaces the 2008 interim rule and lengthens the available extension period for holders of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) degrees issued by U.S. institutions of higher education from 17 months to 24 months. The final rule will become effective May 10, 2016.

The rule also increases government oversight over STEM OPT extensions by requiring the implementation of formal training plans by employers, adding wage and other protections for STEM OPT students and U.S. workers, and allowing extensions only to students with degrees from accredited schools.

In addition to the regular 12-month OPT period, F-1 students who graduate with a STEM degree from a U.S. institution of higher education are granted an additional training period. The DHS final rule lengthens the STEM OPT extension period from 17 months to 24 months, and the rule continues to require employment by an E-Verify compliant employer. The final rule also states that students who currently possess a 17-month STEM EAD card can apply for the additional 7 months in certain circumstances. The I-765 application must be filed between May 10, 2016, and August 8, 2016, and the F-1 student’s current 17-month STEM EAD card must have at least 150 calendar days of validity remaining as of the date their I-765 is filed.

Update on DAPA/ Expanded DACA
The Supreme Court announced that it will hear Texas v. United States in April and most likely, it will reach its decision in June. President Obama's expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and launch of a new program for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), could provide millions of undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation and access to work permits.

If it decides in Obama's favor, the two programs could go into effect, possibly by late summer or early fall.

Even with the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February, advocates say a ruling on one of the big questions before the Supreme Court—whether Obama's executive actions on immigration will finally go into effect—remains up in the air.

Both programs have been on hold since they were announced in November 2014.

With eight justices on the court, five votes are needed to overturn an injunction put in place by a lower court, thereby allowing DACA and DAPA to move forward. In the case of a 4-4 tie, the lower court's ruling would stand but the Supreme Court's ruling would not be precedent.

The litigation does not affect Obama's original DACA program announced in 2012, which remains in effect. Those who qualified for the original DACA should continue applying.

APPLICATION FINAL ACTION DATES FOR April 2016

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

22Sep08

22Sep08

2A

22Oct14

22Oct14

2B

15Jun09

15Jun09

3rd

22Nov04

22Nov04

4th

22Jul03

22​Jul03

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

08Nov08

Current

3rd

08Aug04

15Feb16

Other

08Aug04

15Feb16

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 


DATES FOR FILING VISA APPLICATIONS - April 2016

 

FAMILY

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

01Oct09

01Oct09

2A

15Jun15

15Jun15

2B

15Dec10

15Dec10

3rd

01Aug05

01Aug05

4th

01May04

01May04

 

 

EMPLOYMENT

India

Pakistan/Bangladesh

1st

Current

Current

2nd

01Jul09

Current

3rd

01Jul05

01Sep15

Other

01Jul05

01Sep15

4th

Current

Current

5th

Current

Current1B

 

22Oct14

22Oct14


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