Federal Investigation Targets Foreign Student Work Program

Published: 10/23/2020

Source: Inside Higher Ed

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announces actions against foreign students accused of abusing work training program. College officials may also face sanctions.

OPT/CPT Blast Resume to 1000+ employers

Department of Homeland Security officials sent a clear message Wednesday that they are scrutinizing foreign students' and colleges' compliance with the rules of a program that allows international students to stay in the U.S. to work for one to three years after they graduate in a job directly related to their field of study.

Officials announced that they had arrested 15 international students who claimed to be employed by companies that don’t exist. The arrests resulted from an ongoing Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation, termed Operation OPTical Illusion, targeting fraudulent use of the OPT, or optional practical training, program.
Inside Higher Ed Careres

Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the DHS deputy secretary, said during a press briefing that officials had identified more than 1,110 students who were violating the terms of their immigration status and that work permits for about 700 of those students were being revoked. He said permits for the other approximately 400 students are due to expire within the next two months.

An ICE spokeswoman said the students were determined to be out of status "by failing to report an employer within 121 days" or by failing to obtain employment.

Cuccinelli focused his public comments on the issue of students working in jobs outside their field of study, which is not permitted under the OPT regulations.

“If they are far afield from that field of study they are not qualifying for the work permits, they are not qualifying to stay in the United States, and that’s what ICE is policing,” he said.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

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