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08/18/2015 - What is Happening to the STEM Extension?

I have had many calls and emails about this issue over the last week. Here is the issue in a nutshell:

Last week, a DC District Court invalidated the 17 month STEM extension program, but the measure is not to take effect until February 2016. The Judge recognized the major disruption that this would have on foreign students and therefore stated that the measure would be put off for 6 months.

So what is the problem and why is the STEM extension being invalidated? Basically, the court held that DHS improperly enacted the 17 month STEM extension back in 2008. The extension program was invalid because a public notice and comment period did not take place, as is required prior to enacting such a program.

Should STEM students be worried? My answer: "Not yet." The Judge who made this ruling was very clear that such a change would cause substantial hardship for F-1 STEM students and would create a major labor disruption for the technology sector. As such, the Judge purposely delayed the effective date until February 12, 2016, so that Immigration has time to properly hold the notice and comment period.

Additionally, the Obama Administration is in favor of further expansions of programs like STEM, not less. It is the Administration's aim to support this program.

The 17 month STEM extension is still a viable program.