Murthy Attorney Anna Stepanova Provides Bloomberg Law with Insight Into STEM OPT Changes15 May 2018
Murthy Law Firm Member and Assistant Managing Attorney, Anna Stepanova, was recently interviewed by Bloomberg Law regarding the abrupt change in position by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding off-site placement of STEM OPT workers.
First, a little background on the legal issue discussed. Earlier this year, the USCIS quietly updated its website to prohibit placing STEM OPT workers at any third-party location. This was a major departure from how the regulations had been interpreted by just about everyone. Yet, the USCIS made no announcement of its abrupt policy shift, so it took several months for various professional organizations, such as NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), along with immigration law practitioners and advocates, to notice the monumental change. MurthyDotCom published the NewsBrief, USCIS Changes Position on Third-Party Placement of STEM OPT Workers (19.Apr.2018), shortly after NAFSA made updates to its Manual with the new information. The posting of the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief resulted in a request to the firm for clarification and comment by a journalist from Bloomberg Law.
Anna has extensive experience working on F-1 student-related issues, so she was the natural choice to speak with Bloomberg Law on the matter. Since becoming an immigration attorney, Anna has helped countless F-1 students navigate complex U.S. immigration matters over the years. And, before she began her career as an immigration lawyer, Anna served as the designated school official (DSO) at the University of Iowa.
As Anna explained to Bloomberg Law, the concern is not merely with those who may be transitioning to STEM OPT in the future. Those already working on STEM OPT at offsite locations could run into trouble. “I think what USCIS is laying the ground for is their ability to deny changes of status for all of those workers who are transitioning to H1B.” [See Foreign Student Training Program Rules Quietly Changed, by Laura D. Francis, Bloomberg Law, 26.Apr.2018.]
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