HLG recently submitted comments to the USCIS about their recently-published OPT extension rule. Those rules allow students in STEM occupations preferential work authorization. STEM occupations are those in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. HLG contends that two professions ought to be added to the preferential occupational list – Registered Nurses and Physical Therapists.

Under current OPT rules, a student (F visa status holder) generally is allowed to work in the US for 12 months after the completition of the student’s studies. The new OPT rule allows those STEM occupations as many as 29 months of post-graduate work authorization. Allowing RNs and PTs 29 months of post-graduate work authorization would help alleviate this nation’s shortage in those occupations.

This new OPT extension rule is being challenged in federal court by the Programmer’s Guild. It remains to be seen whether or not the challenge will be successful. The Programmer’s Guild argues that the USCIS violated federal law when it published these rules. If successful, the Programmer’s Guild lawsuit will render the OPT extension rules null.