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Volunteer Work on OPT!

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  • Volunteer Work on OPT!

    Hello all,
    Is it true volunteer(no pay) work(related to their graduate studies field) on OPT is considered as employment? If yes, does that organization need to be e-verified organization even though it is a volunteer work? and how long can we do volunteer work on OPT?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    Your question is posted on our wall at http://www.facebook.com/desiopt1 - please follow the post and forum - Thanks DesiOPT.com team

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    • #3
      As far as I know, E-verification comes into picture when you are applying for OPT STEM Extension. If this is your initial OPT then it really does not matter if the company is e-verified or not and when you go to apply for OPT extension with the same company based on volunteer-ship your OPT extension can possibly get denied because OPT is meant for an individual to find a job in their respective filed of study but if your are just doing volunteering by the time of your OPT extension then USCIS has a good reason to reject your OPT extension. Dont quote me, I may be wrong but this is as far as my understanding. You should reconfirm too.

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      • #4
        How many months of pay stubs I have to provide at the time of H1B filing? If I do first few months of volunteer work and then join a paid job. Will this effect my H1B or OPT extension?

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        • #5
          Shradha is right, you can volunteer in the chosen company if it is not e-verify, provided it is not a stem OPT. However, if you want to apply for OPT stem extension, then you will be rejected for sure because the requirement is 1)Must be e-verify and 2) you must be paid for the job.

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          • #6
            Yes.The current rules forOPT extension says nothing about volunteering while an year back the rules clearlystated u cant work as a volunteer during OPT extension

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            • #7
              There are recent changes to the OPT extension.Not sure if its updated in the USCIS website .Contact your grad schol international advisor to confirm.Here is an excerpt from the cites received by my advisor from USCIS

              § For STEM OPT extensions, SEVP's OPT Policy Guidance [7.2.2] states that employment may include the following:

              oEmployment of at least 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer in a position directly related to his or her DHS-approved STEM CIP.
              oMultiple employers. A student may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to his or her degree program and all employers must be enrolled in E-Verify.
              oWork for hire. This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment, where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. The company for whom the student is providing services must be registered with E-Verify. If requested by DHS, the student must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract period and the name and address of the contracting company.
              oSelf-employed business owner. A student on a 17-month extension can start a business and be self-employed. In this situation, the student must register his or her business with E-Verify and work full time. The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to his or her degree program.
              oEmployment through an agency or consulting firm. A student on a 17-month extension may be employed by an employment agency or consulting firm. The employment agency or consulting firm must be registered with E-Verify, but the third parties contracting with the agency or firm (for which the student is providing services) need not be.
              oNote on volunteers or unpaid interns: STEM OPT Extensions. SEVP's prior April 28, 2008 OPT Policy Guidance 0801-02 had included a directive that "All employment during the STEM extension must be paid employment. Volunteer experience does not count as employment for the purpose of maintaining F-1 status during the STEM extension." However, SEVP removed that directive in its April 23, 2010 revised OPT Policy Guidance 0801-03 [7.2.2], stating that it had "Removed restriction that employment during the 17-month extension must be paid employment. SEVP will need approval for such a restriction through another proposed rulemaking." Although SEVP removed the "paid employment" requirement language in item 7.2.2, it did not replace it with a specific bullet of the kind that appears in item 7.2.1 (relating to standard OPT) that expressly lists volunteer/unpaid internship positions under the types of employment in which graduates with STEM OPT extensions can engage

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DesiOPT-FaceBook-Fan View Post
                There are recent changes to the OPT extension.Not sure if its updated in the USCIS website .Contact your grad schol international advisor to confirm.Here is an excerpt from the cites received by my advisor from USCIS

                § For STEM OPT extensions, SEVP's OPT Policy Guidance [7.2.2] states that employment may include the following:

                oEmployment of at least 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer in a position directly related to his or her DHS-approved STEM CIP.
                oMultiple employers. A student may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to his or her degree program and all employers must be enrolled in E-Verify.
                oWork for hire. This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment, where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. The company for whom the student is providing services must be registered with E-Verify. If requested by DHS, the student must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract period and the name and address of the contracting company.
                oSelf-employed business owner. A student on a 17-month extension can start a business and be self-employed. In this situation, the student must register his or her business with E-Verify and work full time. The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to his or her degree program.
                oEmployment through an agency or consulting firm. A student on a 17-month extension may be employed by an employment agency or consulting firm. The employment agency or consulting firm must be registered with E-Verify, but the third parties contracting with the agency or firm (for which the student is providing services) need not be.
                oNote on volunteers or unpaid interns: STEM OPT Extensions. SEVP's prior April 28, 2008 OPT Policy Guidance 0801-02 had included a directive that "All employment during the STEM extension must be paid employment. Volunteer experience does not count as employment for the purpose of maintaining F-1 status during the STEM extension." However, SEVP removed that directive in its April 23, 2010 revised OPT Policy Guidance 0801-03 [7.2.2], stating that it had "Removed restriction that employment during the 17-month extension must be paid employment. SEVP will need approval for such a restriction through another proposed rulemaking." Although SEVP removed the "paid employment" requirement language in item 7.2.2, it did not replace it with a specific bullet of the kind that appears in item 7.2.1 (relating to standard OPT) that expressly lists volunteer/unpaid internship positions under the types of employment in which graduates with STEM OPT extensions can engage

                So, how do u think the USCIS will treat it? is it a grey area? the initial item which required paid position in 2008 has been changed but the allowance of "unpaid position" has not showed up in the item.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DesiOPT-FaceBook-Fan View Post
                  Yes.The current rules forOPT extension says nothing about volunteering while an year back the rules clearlystated u cant work as a volunteer during OPT extension
                  So, how do u think the USCIS will treat it? is it a grey area? the initial item which required paid position in 2008 has been changed but the allowance of "unpaid position" has not showed up in the item.

                  Comment

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