Can there be third party placements under STEM OPT?

An April, 2018 update to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website has raised questions about third party placements of F-1 graduates under the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. The agency appears to place additional limits on STEM OPT employment by barring student workers from participating in placements at offsite locations. The USCIS website states that the training of student workers “must take place on site at the employer’s place of business or worksite.” The agency’s justification for the change is that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would lack the authority to visit third party workplaces to ensure program requirements are being fulfilled. Under the 2016 STEM OPT extension rules, the employer must complete an ICE training plan and must supervise and train student workers for the program’s duration. But the regulations do not specify whether the supervision and training can be conducted when…

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