College classes require a significant amount of time, focus and energy from students. When taking a full class load, many students in New York find that it is impossible to work during the school year. The summer break is an opportune time to find part-time work or to participate in an internship, but some international students were not able to follow through on those plans. Ongoing delays with the immigration process mean that these students were forced to make difficult decisions regarding their summer plans.
The Optional Practical Training program gives international students the opportunity to work in fields related to their studies for up to one year. Students must already have already secured a job or internship before applying for the program, and they can only file 90 days before their scheduled start dates. In the past, this three month waiting period did not pose any problems. The average application took less than 60 days for approval.
The processing time for foreign visas increased 46% over the past two years. A significant number of international students who submitted their applications for summer work have still not received authorization, forcing these students to push back start dates for summer opportunities. Many have had these offers rescinded. Others have had to return home during the summer break.
This is a difficult situation for international students who simply wanted to have the same summer experience as their peers. Unfortunately, the current processing time for most immigration visas is much longer than in the past. This means that it is extremely important for applicants to not only submit applications in a timely manner, but to provide accurate information to prevent experiencing any delays. An experienced New York attorney may be able to provide more detailed information on these types of situations.