The ICE visit is typically announced via email to the managers who oversee STEM OPT workers. The email gives two days’ notice that ICE will be making a site visit.
Typically, these visits have been taking around one to two hours, with an ICE officer questioning both the employer and any student workers.
Things you should be prepared to talk about include:
- How the STEM OPT employee’s salary was determined
- What makes this a valid training opportunity
- Whether the employer has sufficient structure and staff to provide the supervision and training of the employee as outlined in Form I-983
In general, it’s good practice to brush up on the content of the I-983 prior to the visit.
Additionally, you should know that the regulation that describes the expected scope of the DHS/ICE visit states:
“The employer site visit is intended to ensure that each employer meets program requirements, including that they are complying with their attestations and that they possess the ability and resources to provide structured and guided work-based learning experiences outlined in students’ Training Plans.
“Site visits will be performed at the discretion of DHS either randomly or when DHS determines that such an action is needed. […] based on previous on-site-reviews to schools, DHS estimates that an employer site visit may include a review of records and questions for the supervisor, and will take five hours per employer…
“Site visits will be limited to checking information related to student STEM OPT employment and ensuring that students and employers are engaged in work-based learning experiences that are consistent with the information supplied on the student’s Form I-983.”
Interestingly, this regulation was passed in 2016 with the purpose of improving and expanding training opportunities for F-1 students with STEM degrees and to provide cap-gap relief for eligible F-1 students.