Earlier this year, there was panic all around when the USCIS updated its STEM OPT web page to imply that third-party (client) placement is not acceptable for STEM OPT extension. We published an article at that time asking students not to panic, and that this change will not really stand the scrutiny if challenged in court.
And we were right. After all these months, the USCIS finally clarified that client placement is acceptable, as long as the employer is able to prove that they provide ongoing training and have a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student.
This is exactly what the USCIS says: Staffing and temporary agencies and consulting firms may seek to employ students under the STEM OPT program, but only if they will be the entity that provides the practical training experience to the student and they have and maintain a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student. STEM OPT participants may engage in a training experience that takes place at a site other than the employer’s principal place of business as long as all of the training obligations are met, including that the employer has and maintains a bona fide employer-employee relationship with the student.
So make sure that the consulting company that you pick is able to demonstrate clearly that they are meeting the training obligations as required by the I-983, and are maintaining a bona fide employer-employee relationship. The USCIS is look to confirm that employers
actually trained you extensively in a classroom based environment
have full-time dedicated trainers and mentors that can be mentioned on the I-983, and can prove it if there is a site visit or an RFE
have the facilities, resources to show that you spend time at their location before and between client projects
have a detailed training plan that is specifically customized for each OPT student, and also a corporate training manual
have the administrative resources as well as the systems in place to handle all the legal and administrative work, including keeping a documented track of the ongoing supervision, training and mentoring offered as part of the OPT training plan
be able to pay to continuously, even between projects, according to a wage schedule that is comparable to similarly situated US worker
We certainly follow all of the above guidelines. Call us if you have any questions.
Discuss your OPT/H1B questions with our experienced recruiters (We are looking only for candidates with IT degrees)