The President Has Spoken on Immigration: What Does It Mean For YOU?

Among the recent presidential actions on immigration are provisions to modernize, improve and clarify immigrant and nonimmigrant programs to grow our economy and create jobs – with the greatest economic impact affecting U.S. businesses, foreign investors, researchers, inventors and skilled foreign workers.

While specifics won’t be known about changes to economic oriented immigration policy until the guidance and regulations are issued, the effect of changes in the regulations impacting foreign students will be primarily among F1 visa holders. For foreign students specifically, further expansion and extension of optional practical training (OPT) is being proposed which could open the door to great opportunity for both students and employers alike. The next step in this process is for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop regulations for notice and public comment on the changes. No timeline for this process has yet been established.

What this means for international students interested in staying in the US after graduation for experiential education could be profound, likely further extending the current 17 month STEM extension period, as well as the expanding the designated degree programs that qualify. Currently, certain students who graduate with a STEM degree are eligible to remain in the United States for an additional 17 months (beyond the standard 12 months) on an optional practical training (OPT) STEM extension. Students may qualify for an additional 17 months of OPT under the following circumstances:

  1. Your degree for your current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM program listed on the Department of Homeland Security’s STEM designated degree program list
  2. The employer from which you are seeking work uses the E-Verify Program
  3. You have not already received a 17-month extension of OPT
    Approximately 10,000 students are currently working in Michigan on OPT, and over 29,000 international students are studying in Michigan colleges and universities. The purpose of the presidential actions relative to STEM expansion/extension is clear – to further open a pathway to experiential employment in the United States for talented foreign students to lessen the talent shortages so widely reported by employers, while improving the Michigan and national economies.

What can you do as a student? Prepare. Begin by completing a Free profile of yourself on the GTRI GOregistry, and make certain that you have a current “American styled” resume for employers to review.

What can you do as an employer? Prepare. Apply to GTRI to become a Global Opportunity Employer, GOemployer, and consider participating as an employer in the GOregistry for unlimited access to skilled global talent waiting to hear from you. To learn more about the GOregistry please contact Jeff at GTRI at or by calling 517-290-0853.

How to E-Verify your company in 5 easy steps!


E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. It is the only fast, accurate, and free service of its kind that verifies employees’ data against millions of government records.


Step 1: Visit enrollment website Enrollment website.

Step 2: Answer Access Method Questions There are four access methods, each providing different functions within E-Verify for your company.  The four access methods are: employer, E-Verify employer agent, corporate administrator, and Web services. E-Verify will guide you through four questions to help determine which access method is right for your company.

Step 3: Sign MOU (Memorandums of Understanding) Review the terms and conditions explained in the MOU.  Indicate whether you agree with the terms, which will be your electronic signature.  You will be given the opportunity to download a copy of your electronically signed MOU at the end of the enrollment process.  

Step 4: Enter company information Continue enrolling by entering your company information.  After entering in all the information, review to make sure it is correct,  certify your information, then submit to become E-Verified!

Step 5: Print MOU Once you have reached the Enrollment Confirmation page, E-Verify has received your enrollment information.  Be sure to print a signed copy of the MOU for your records.

Once verified, an employer can enter the information from an employee’s Form I-9 in E-Verify, which will then compare the information to records available to the US Department of Homeland Security.  If the information matches, the case will receive an Employment Authorized result almost immediately.  If the information does not match, the case will receive a Tentative Nonconfirmation result.

For more information click here.