By Tieranny Cutler and Dawn Lurie
Earlier this week, on January 26, 2021, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) rescinded its intention, announced less than two weeks earlier, to develop an OPT Employment Compliance Unit. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) compliance-focused plan included close collaboration with other government agencies.
According to SEVP, following additional reviews of ICE’s current Optional Practical Training (OPT) compliance efforts, much of the work to be designated to the OPT Employment Compliance Unit is already being performed by SEVP and therefore they determined the additional unit is not needed. While we are uncertain as to the internal discourse leading up to the quick rescission, it is likely that new administration team members reviewed the optics of the unit, the timing of the announcement (a week before the inauguration), and the potential impact on foreign students wanting to study in the U.S., before deciding to reconsider the rollout of the unit. While humanitarian actions, including the focus on DACA and TPS have been the initial focus of the Biden administration, we are hopeful that they will turn to business and employer issues in an effort to keep the U.S. competitive globally. We expect an enforcement-minded, but practical approach; this early action should not be viewed as an indicator of anything otherwise.
Continue Reading Compliance Whiplash: ICE Establishes, and then Rescinds, Plan to Create OPT Employment Compliance Unit