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Published on : February 3, 2021
Thanks to President Joe Biden, there are a couple of new developments in the US immigration law that brings happy tidings.
One is that a challenge in court to the Optional Practical Training (OPT) and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) OPT extension has failed.
The other is that the US Department of Labor (DOL) has delayed implementation of the regulations affecting disproportionate wage hikes for H1B and green card petitions to 14 May 2021. This is beyond the H1B visa lottery deadlines.
This program is designed to provide one year of work authorization to international students finishing their degrees. They could work paid or unpaid for no less than 20 hours every week. While full-time work was permitted, it was not necessary.
STEM graduates could extend their OPT for another two years as per law. It gave them a total of three years to work in the US.
Both these OPT opportunities entitle students to apply for the H1B visa lottery.
Changes to these two programs were challenged in federal courts by the local employee organizations who believed them to be beyond the authority of the government. The government disagreed.
While it failed, the court ruled for the government that it can still be appealed, it is unlikely to be easily reversed.
The US Department of Labor regulation regarding wage hike for H1B and green card holders is now postponed to 14 May 2021. It is way past the H1B lottery scheduled for this year. After consulting with the public and the stakeholders, the regulation may altogether be rescinded.
It looks like things are moving in the right direction, after all. President Biden is ensuring that immigration policies are made with deliberation and the right frame of mind. It may take some time, but things are getting better for sure.
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