Immigration Law

Waiting for Work Authorization

Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, June 25, 2019

"Colleges are seeing increases in processing times for international students applying for work authorization through the Optional Practical Training, or OPT, program, leaving some students with job or internship offers unable to take up their positions on time. ... Many other colleges already offer practicum courses through which international students can gain CPT authorization to participate in summer internships. Whereas the regulations stipulate that OPT can only be approved for employment "directly related to the student's major area of study," the regulations governing CPT are stricter and say it must be "an integral part of an established curriculum."  "There are some ambiguities -- the regulations don't define what constitutes 'an integral part of an established curriculum' -- but more and more colleges are starting curricular practical training for international students not solely because of these new U.S.C.I.S. restrictions but also because work is now understood to be more integral to a person's education generally," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration practice at Cornell University."