The class motion lawsuit – proposed at the District Courtroom for the Southern District of Ohio – was led by 18 college students with F-1 standing on February 16, 2021. USCIS has since launched an replace, which seeks to reassure OPT candidates.
“This lawsuit seeks to mitigate the hurt to the scholars ensuing from the delay, which was solely within the management of USCIS”
Along with compelling USCIS to course of and adjudicate purposes on a “well timed foundation”, the swimsuit is looking for to stop ICE from eradicating college students who lose their F-1 standing whereas ready for USCIS to course of purposes, defined lawyer Robert Cohen at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP.
“These college students adopted the regulation and well timed utilized for permission to remain within the US after completion of their formal research,” he mentioned, “for the aim of finishing a 12-month interval of post-graduate non-compulsory sensible coaching or a further 24-month interval primarily based upon the OPT STEM extension.”
It additionally seeks to make sure college students are put “in the identical place and obtain the identical advantages they might have obtained had USCIS opened the mail and processed the purposes as required”.
The USCIS replace on February 18 mentioned it’s nonetheless experiencing delays at sure lockboxes in issuing receipt notices for Kind I-765 which college students require for employment authorisation purposes. However USCIS reminded that delays won’t have an effect on the obtained date.
“We won’t reject purposes solely as a result of they have been filed on the lockbox tackle in use previous to the change to the submitting tackle directions introduced on Jan. 8, 2021,” USCIS mentioned.
“You probably have well timed filed Kind I-765 primarily based on STEM OPT, and your post-completion OPT interval expires whereas the applying is pending, we’ll routinely prolong the employment authorisation for 180 days.”
Nonetheless the delays have “created the danger that these college students will lose their F-1 standing, job provides, earnings, medical health insurance, and the chance to resubmit an OPT software whether it is rejected”, Cohen famous.
“These issues develop into multiplied as a result of the scholars additionally danger the specter of removing. This lawsuit seeks to mitigate the hurt to the scholars ensuing from the delay, which was solely within the management of USCIS.”
Cohen added that the lawsuit additionally seeks to make sure:
- College students whose grace interval expired whereas ready for adjudication of their OPT purposes must be permitted to stay in F-1 standing till a minimum of 14 days after their software is adjudicated.
- Require USCIS to not reject purposes for technical errors however as an alternative concern a Request for Proof
- Require USCIS to simply accept purposes which might be corrected inside 60 days after the date that they’re rejected
- College students are permitted to finish their full 12 months of OPT.
College students beforehand mentioned they have been contemplating mounting a authorized problem on account of delays they’ve confronted.
Beneath regular circumstances, USCIS would have issued receipts inside days of submitting an software, however college students have “been ready for months”, Cohen continued.
“Beginning October 2020, USCIS has unlawfully delayed opening, processing, and adjudicating purposes submitted to its lockboxes in Arizona and Texas,” he mentioned.
“As a result of USCIS didn’t do what it’s alleged to do, the flexibility to realize the expertise supplied by the regulation could also be misplaced or diminished. That is unfair and this lawsuit hopes to make it proper.”
“We’re conscious of the impression the delays have had on nonimmigrant college students,” USCIS mentioned in an announcement, including that its lockbox workforce “continues to work additional hours and redistribute its workload, whereas sustaining Covid-19 safety measures, in an effort to minimise delays”.
Service centres are “conscious of the impression of those delays and can work as shortly as doable to course of Kind I-765 purposes for OPT”, it added.
It really helpful candidates wait eight weeks to contact USCIS to investigate about case standing.