ICE has begun workplace inspections of employers who have F-1 OPT STEM workers. Thus, if a company has an employee with the two-year extension of OPT work authorization limited to those F-1 students with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) degrees, the employer should be ready for a site inspection by ICE SEVP officers.

If an employer receives an email from ICE regarding a site inspection, the company should have its I-983 training plans organized, as well as supporting documentation, and be ready to show that the employer is complying with the training plan as well as with other OPT requirements.

During the visit, ICE officers may ask to speak directly with the company’s immigration manager, F-1 employee’s supervisor, as well as with the F-1 employee himself or herself.

The scope of the visit should be limited to the purpose of inspecting compliance with the training plan and F-1 OPT. ICE officers should not be allowed to wander around or investigate any other aspects of the company’s business, employees or employment practices. Receptionists should be advised to immediately contact the responsible manager when they arrive. The company representative who deals with ICE needs to keep a detailed record of the name, office location and phone numbers of the ICE agents, the questions asked and responses and documents provided by the company to ICE.

The company manager should be ready to explain the F-1 employee’s job duties, how the position relates to the F-1 employee’s degree and studies, how the F-1 employee is qualified for the position, the qualifications for similar positions, how the manager supervises the F-1 employee and how the training is carried out. If the employee is actually working at a third-party client site, the manager needs to explain how the employee is supervised and trained, even while at a third-party site.

*The content and materials available via Ask Ellis are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice

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