Questions from Designated School Officials: Can STEM OPT Students Use Staffing or Temporary Agencies?
Questions from Designated School Officials is a blog series on Study in the States for designated school officials (DSOs). Each month, we will answer a question that will help you advise your F and/or M students. If you are a DSO and would like to submit a question, you can email us or ask us via social media, your Field Representative or the SEVP Response Center. We may edit questions for clarity and consistency and may not feature all submissions on Study in the States.
F-1 students participating in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension may find their training opportunity with assistance from a temporary or staffing agency. However, all regulatory requirements of STEM OPT must still be maintained.
If a student uses a temporary or staffing agency to place them in a training opportunity, the agency cannot complete and sign the Form I-983, “Training Plan for STEM OPT Students.” Only the E-verified employer that provides the actual training relevant to the student’s qualifying STEM degree is authorized to sign and complete the Form I-983. The “Official with Signatory Authority” for a student’s Form I-983 must meet the following criteria:
- Be employed by the organization providing the training.
- Be familiar with the STEM OPT student’s goals and performance.
- Have the authority to affirm that the information on the Form I-983 is true and correct.
Remember, students must submit a completed and signed Form I-983 to their designated school official (DSO) before the DSO can request them for the STEM OPT extension in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Additionally, if the terms of a student’s training deviate from the original Form I-983, the student and employer need to update it and provide a newly signed Form I-983 to the DSO.
This means that if a student uses a temporary agency that places them in short-term training opportunities with several different employers, the student will need to complete a new Form I-983 for every new training opportunity with each employer.
For more information or to learn more about rules and regulations surrounding STEM OPT, please visit the STEM OPT Hub on Study in the States.