US Court Lifts OPT Scam Bans, Indian Students Regain US Visa Eligibility

US Court Lifts OPT Scam Bans, Indian Students Regain US Visa Eligibility

Many international students who participate in the OPT programme work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields while they are in the US. Under the scheme, some businesses made up the claim that they would hire graduates, but these claims were later shown to be fake.

Siksha MUpdated: Friday, May 17, 2024, 04:21 PM IST
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A US district court has lifted sanctions related to an Optional Practical Training (OPT) scam, allowing over 90 international students, many of whom are from India, to reclaim their right to enter the United States. These students had previously been denied visas due to their association with fraudulent OPT employers.

What is OPT scam?

Many international students who participate in the OPT programme work in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields while they are in the US. Under the scheme, some businesses made up the claim that they would hire graduates, but these claims were later shown to be fake.

According to Siksha reports, Attorney Jesse Bless, representing the affected students, stated, "It confirmed that these former students are not inadmissible to the US or ineligible for visas solely based on their employment with fraudulent OPT companies. With the inadmissibility lifted, these plaintiffs have now regained another opportunity to live and work in the United States."

Bless added that following discussions, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consented to examine its records pertaining to the students who were impacted.

Attorney Jonathan Wasden told TOI that the scam involved businesses that the DHS had authorised via the E-Verify system. These businesses provided graduates with consulting positions for dubious training courses, which were frequently offered for less than $500. After years of DHS certification, these businesses were raided by the agency, which took employee lists and cross-referenced the names, including the impacted students'. 

Wasden gave students advice to report any suspicious activity to DHS through legal representation and to exercise caution when dealing with organisations that charge for training. "Being aware and reporting the suspicious activities if suspect fraud will protect students and ensure their OPT opportunities remain secure," he added.

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