Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are now able to questions international students who are working after completing their education or are currently pursuing their degrees while holding an F-1 immigrant visa status.
As described in the report, there are several reasons why the administration is conducting on-site questioning from international students who are currently working on optional practical training in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math.
This is the latest initiative taken by Trump administration towards employed international students, companies, and highly skilled individuals.
According to Fragomen Law firm, ICE has full authority to conduct these regulatory checks, but they haven’t begun checking any personnel working at the firm since 2016.
ICE may also conduct individual interviews with personnel, review, and discuss individual’s training plans in the US, and may also ask for a tour of the premises.
As per mentioned in STEM OPT regulation from May 2016, it is still unclear about how many aspects ICE can review regarding working international students and their relations with the employers. The main reason for that is to make sure individuals who work get paid according to the standards while maintaining and exercising equal rights given to common US-workers.
Another area where the legitimacy of an employer is tested is how his OPT training program is structured, and the reputation he or his company holds in the eyes of ICE. ICE has made it mandatory for the employer and student to work together in creating a plan explicitly indicating the study objectives and how a student is going to achieve them.
Blake Chisam a partner at Fragomen Law firm said that it could become very liable for individuals and companies as it could potentially expose them just by signing legal contracts via training forms. Chisam also emphasized how these visits could be exacerbated by the location of the company, its policies, and other circumstances.
Apart from that, employers employing international students on OPT at third party workspaces must expect visits from regulatory authorities. Officers will question staff, managers or even want to have private conversations or interviews with the students.
These policies do not affect employers as they do to students as no specific penalties are mentioned for violations on form I-983. It could result in the termination of employment and OPT, which could cause a disaster for the terminated student, who was not complying with the proposed plan.
According to economist Madeline Zavodny, there is no chance of saturation in the US job market, but still, the government is going forward to place more restrictions on international students.
This could get many international students being barred from the United States, which is very humiliating to those students from an emotional and financial perspective.
A lawsuit filed against these policies has paused the effects of this newly passed memo, but we can’t expect things to stay like this longer.
During the time of Trump administration, we can’t expect any positive changes being conducted to make sure that the international students truly enjoy their stay and post-graduation life in the US.