Breaking News 01.26.2016

Federal Court Gives DHS Until May 10, 2016 to Fix STEM OPT

This past fall, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) used improper procedures when it implemented its 2008 regulations that created optional practical training (“OPT”) extensions for qualified students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (“STEM”) fields. Initially, the judge gave DHS until February 12, 2016 to take proper procedures to implement the regulation correctly, at which time the judge would invalidate the old, improperly implemented rule. On Friday, at DHS’ request, the judge extended the deadline, giving the Department until May 10, 2016 to properly implement the rule.

The judge’s ruling means that students on STEM OPT will not have their status disrupted by the prior February 12 deadline. Rather, students can rest assured that valid STEM OPT status will remain valid until May 10, at least, and that STEM extensions will also be accepted until that date. It is extremely likely that USCIS will properly promulgate a new STEM rule by May 10 and students will no longer have to worry about STEM issues.

TPS Extension for Sudan and South Sudan

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), has extended Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for eligible nationals of Sudan and South Sudan (and eligible individuals without nationality who last habitually resided in those countries) for an additional 18 months, through November 2, 2017.

Current TPS Sudan and South Sudan beneficiaries seeking to extend their TPS must re-register during the 60-day re-registration period that runs from January 25, 2016, through March 25, 2016. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) encourages beneficiaries to re-register as soon as possible once the 60-day re-registration period begins. USCIS is now accepting applications.

The 18-month extension also allows TPS re-registrants to apply for a new Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible TPS Sudan and South Sudan beneficiaries who re-register during the 60-day period and request a new EAD will receive one with an expiration date of November 2, 2017.

Additional information on TPS for Sudan and South Sudan-including guidance on eligibility, the application process and where to file-is available online at . Certain individuals who are not current TPS beneficiaries may be able to apply late for TPS under the Sudan and South Sudan designation.

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Here are some of the upcoming engagements.

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