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STEM OPT Worksite Inspections

Posted July 25, 2019Stephanie WedelArticles

As an update to the previous post regarding Increased Immigration Enforcement Activities, The Department of Homeland Security has announced that  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be conducting on-site inspections for individuals on STEM OPT employment to ensure compliance with the STEM OPT regulations and the individual training plans for the foreign national employees or trainees. They will also visit third-party client sites as well.

Notification of a Site Visit

Typically, ICE is required to provide 48 hours’ advanced notice before conducting a random STEM OPT site visit.  However, no notice is required where there has been a complaint made with ICE, or where there is evidence indicating noncompliance with program rules. Best practices Your organization should have a designated point of contact to meet with ICE officials. Any STEM OPT employees or trainees, as well as their managers should also be aware of the potential for a site visit, as well as what to expect during a site visit.

When an ICE officer arrives, you should request to see the officer’s credentials and business card. You should also keep record of the officer’s name, title, and contact information. The officer will likely request to speak to the employee or trainee as well as the manager. The designated point of contact should accompany the officer and document the visit.

You should report any site visits to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.

What to expect

The officer will likely request a copy of the I-983 training plan, as well as to speak with the employee or trainee and their manager.  Typically, the officer will ask questions relating to the following:

  • The information provided on the I-983 training plan
  • The work/training the trainee is performing
  • How the trainee’s degree program relates to the position
  • Types of supervision provided

The officer may request to see the worksite and may take photographs.  If this occurs, the designated point of contact should request copies of the photos that are taken. Once the visit is complete, if the officer has additional questions or determines updated information is needed, the request should be issued in writing.  If the officer was not able to obtain all the information they need, they may follow up with the organization either by email or phone.  They may also request an additional visit.

Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney with any questions.