US govt may permit F1 visa holder students to stay and work for 6 years after Feb 2016

If the initiative gets implemented, then the dependability on the ‘lottery’ of H-1B visa would be removed and more Indian students would be able to work and stay in USA without facing any issues.

US F1 visa duration for students to be extended

For all the International students in the USA here’s a bundle of good news as US Government may allow F1 visa holders who are graduating with Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) degrees to stay and work in USA for a maximum time span of 6 years which is to be treated on par with H-1B visa holders after February 12, 2016. The government considered the proposal for 6 year Visas for Indian students with STEM courses back in June this year.

What is the current problem?

On successful completion of the course in STEM streams (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), the F1 Visa holders are permitted to work for 24 months in US while in case of non STEM Course they are allowed to work for 12 months.

After 12 months and 24 months if they wish to continue with their job they are required to apply for H-1B visa. It’s not sure that one will get H-1B Visa as the demand for it is too high. No doubt your employer is sponsoring you, yet your application may get rejected.

If in case the application for H-1B visa gets rejected all you have to do is come back start studying another educational course and then again wait for the next 12 months to wait for the lottery system to begin.

US Court Decision:

Since so many days it was expected that there will be drastic changes in the policies of the F1 Visa Rules which will enable the students to stay more than 12 or 24 months after they have completed their studies. But before the official decision was given over the issue, Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WATW) filed a lawsuit against the same.

However, the judgement given by U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle of the District of Columbia on August 12, 2015 did not ruled out in favour of Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WATW). She passed the rule that the students may be allowed to work in US for 6 years after successful completion of their studies.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) 7 years ago laid a proposal that the F1 Visa holders and H-1B Visa holders should be given equal treatment in terms of job duration and stay. So, keeping in mind the US Federal Rules DHS kept this proposal and decision private. Now the DHS has been asked to implement the same within next 6 months.

It is not accepted on the part of DHS that they will neglect the decision taken by the US court as it will have a very bad impact especially on the US tech industry because presently thousands of workers are F1 Visa holders. They will be compelled to return back to their homeland in case they do not have H-1B Visa.

If the decision taken by the US Court is accepted by the DHS then F1 Visa holders on successful completion of studies in STEM can stay and work in US for 3 years and in case they opt for graduate programs which can again be extended to 3 more years. However, for non-STEM students, the duration of extended stay may still remain the same i.e. 12 months.

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