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DHS Adds 22 New STEM Fields of Study to OPT Program – MeriTalk


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has added 22 new areas of study to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) program to enhance the contributions of nonimmigrant students studying STEM subjects. .

The program allows F-1 visa students earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in certain STEM fields to stay in the United States for up to 36 months to work in their field of study.

“STEM innovation allows us to solve the complex challenges we face today and make a difference in how we secure and protect our country,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “Through STEM education and training opportunities, DHS is increasing the number and diversity of students who excel in STEM education and contribute to the American economy.”

Supplement 22 fields of study will help ensure that the U.S. economy benefits from students earning degrees in the United States in STEM fields.

Additionally, DHS is updating and releasing new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Policy Handbook guidance to “clarify how certain STEM graduates and entrepreneurs may use the national interest exemption to the classification of immigrant visas based on employment as non-citizen or higher-level professional non-citizen. exceptional ability. »

Similarly, the Biden-Harris administration released a fact sheet today on the measures taken by the administration to attract STEM talent. The fact sheet details the actions of the Departments of State and Homeland Security to advance the predictability and clarity of pathways for international STEM scholars, students, researchers, and experts.

In addition to the 22 new DHS fields of study included in the OPT, the Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs announces an early-career STEM research initiative to facilitate BridgeUSA exchange visitors non-immigrants coming to the United States to engage in STEM research.

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