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Guidance for E-Verify Employers on Completing and Maintaining Form I-983 Training Plan

Posted February 13, 2020Cheryl Kilborn - Sr. AssociateArticles

Meltzer Hellrung has prepared updated guidance for preparing Form I-983 for STEM OPT employees and for ensuring consistency and surviving an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit (compliance with the Training Plan). This document is available in your shared folder for current clients.

Current (or prospective) employees who graduated from a US degree program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields may be eligible to apply for an additional 24 months of Occupational Practical Training (OPT) beyond the initial 12 months granted after graduation. Employers who wish to sponsor this additional period of work authorization must be E-Verify participants.

E-Verify participants are required to prepare a Training Plan (Form I-983) for each of its STEM OPT employees. The Training Plan includes details about the tasks and assignments the STEM OPT employee will carry out and how those tasks relate to the employee’s STEM degree. It also identifies learning objectives and a plan for achieving those objectives.

While completing the Training Plan is not too complicated, Meltzer Hellrung has prepared some tips for ensuring consistency and surviving an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit (compliance with the Training Plan). Some of our practical tips including:

-          Maintaining a process for reviewing and saving copies of all Training Plans to ensure compliance and appropriate updating (such as a single point of contact within the company or a managed program through your immigration counsel);

-          Ensuring the STEM OPT employee and his or her manager is aware of everything in the Training Plan (e.g. through a targeted annual training); and

-          Maintaining a list of all STEM OPT employees and updating the list as changes occur (e.g. change of status to H1B or termination ahead of the Training Program end date).

If you have questions about the Training Plan or would like more information about how we can help manage your STEM OPT program, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.