Indian students asked to stay in touch with schools regarding OPT

Students must comply with all F-1 visa provisions, advises Indian mission.

Amid growing uncertainty about Optional Practical Training (OPT) for foreign students in the US, Indian students have been advised to keep in touch with their school officials while complying with their F-1 visa requirements.

“We recognize that some Indian students in the United States may be facing challenges in securing and/or retaining practical training opportunities due to the covid-19 pandemic,” the Indian Embassy in the US said in a student advisory .

The advisory covered all Indian students pursuing/looking to pursue practical training opportunities, including Curricular Practical Training (CPT), pre-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), post-completion OPT, and/or the STEM Extension OPT:

“Students are advised to remain in contact with their Designated School Official (DSO) regarding their situation, as DSO are the best sources of reliable information in this regard,” it said.

The embassy also reminded the students to comply with all provisions of their F-1 visa as required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP), and the State Department.

This includes complying with their CPT/OPT employment/reporting requirements, it said.

READ MORE: Covid-19: How pandemic is affecting foreign students in the United States (April 8, 2020)

In case of any clarifications or questions on these provisions/ and their application, students are advised to consult their DSO, the embassy said.

It also advised students to research the employer and also the position being offered for the CPT/ OPT and check with their DSO to ensure that such opportunity is in compliance with the practical training requirements.

The embassy also referred Indian students to SEVP defined guidelines regarding student employment at: Working in the United States

FAQs and guidance from the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement regarding the evolving covid-19 situation may be referred at: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/coronavirus/covid19faq.pdf

Apart from the covid situation, the OPT program is under pressure with some influential Republican lawmakers urging President Donald Trump to suspend it along with H-1B program for at least 60 days.

Trump had in his April 22 presidential proclamation halted issuing green cards to certain nonimmigrants for 60 days, but left H-1B and other guest worker programs untouched.

Seeking suspension of OPT in a letter to Trump in May, four Republican senators led by Tom Cotton  saw “no reason to allow foreign students to stay for three additional years just to take jobs that would otherwise go to unemployed Americans as our economy recovers.”

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