My initial first-year optional practical training (OPT) will end in three months. Because I have a designated STEM degree, I can apply for the 24-month STEM OPT extension. …

… My current OPT employer would like me to continue working for them on STEM OPT, but they are not registered for E-Verify, which is required for STEM OPT employers. They suggested that I find another company that is E-Verify registered to sponsor me for STEM OPT so that I can continue working for my current employer as a contractor. Is this permitted?


The proposed arrangement you are describing may present serious issues. It appears that there is no expectation that your current employer, which will continue to employ you on STEM OPT, will adhere to the requirements of the STEM OPT rule. Essentially, what your employer is proposing is having an unrelated company sponsor you for STEM OPT just because that company is registered in E-Verify. While the STEM OPT rule does not specifically prohibit 3rd-party placements, the employer that signs the Form I-983 Training Plan must adhere to all of the attestations made on the I-983, which does not appear to be the case in the scenario you describe.

If your employer wants to continue to employ you on STEM OPT, they must enroll in E-Verify and make sure they meet all of their obligations and requirements under the STEM OPT rule. (11.Aug.2017)

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