STEM Jobs (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Optional Practical Training):
All the students who are still pursuing their graduation or post graduation can apply for the OPT program to work legally in the USA for a period of 12 months. You can go for this Optional Practical Training program even after completion of your graduation or masters. Some government designated degree holders like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) have an option to extend the 12 months OPT program for another 17 months, that means the program is for 29 months.
Here is the list of STEM courses which are eligible for extension –
• Actuarial Sciences
• Medical Scientists
• Biological Sciences
• Nutritional Sciences
• Biomedical Sciences
• Physical Sciences
• Computer Science
• Sustainability Studies
Eligibility Criteria for STEM extension –
• To apply for the STEM extension, you should be already working with any employer and the job should be related to the major subject of your study.
• You should have completed the degree or masters in any of the STEM course lists.
• You should not have applied for any STEM 17 month’s extension in the past.
• You should have not completed the present OPT. That means you apply for the extension when you are still doing your OPT program.
• The employer should be an E-verified employee and also should be agreeing to the report of termination of the employee to the government within 48 hours.
Eligible Employment –
There are different types of employment to choose from when you are going for OPT and STEM OPT extension jobs.
• Hire based employment which is commonly called as 1099 employment where you work on contract basis than an employee.
• You can work with multiple employers provided that all the employees are related to your major field of study.
• Rather than working for long term with one single employer, you can choose to work with multiple employers for short term.
• You can contact an employment agency which can help you in finding a OPT job for you. May be you will have to pay to the employment agency as they are going to help in finding a job.
• You can even start a business of your own but when you are selecting this employment option, then make sure that you are personally involved in the business. The business should be related to your major subject and you need to work full time. You should be able to present a valid license to show that you are engaged in the business.
Few more points about STEM OPT jobs –
• You will be permitted to apply for OPT per every graduation or post graduation program, but you will be given only one chance to apply for the STEM OPT job. You get only one time extension.
• The STEM OPT job time starts immediately after the OPT duration ends. There will not be any gap between the end of 12 months OPT and 17 months STEM OPT job.
• You are given an option to change the employer in these 17 months duration just like in OPT program, but the employers should be in the designated employers list.
• In case the STEM OPT extension is not approved, then the student will still have a 2 month (60 days) period after the end date of OPT program for making further arrangements.