MIT WARNS FOREIGN STUDENTS OF POSSIBLE VISITS FROM ICE
MIT WARNS FOREIGN STUDENTS OF POSSIBLE VISITS FROM ICE
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is warning international students that federal immigration officials may visit their work sites to verify that their employment is directly related to their studies.
School officials sent a memo to faculty saying the Department of Homeland Security has been making site visits to employers of foreign students in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The school is notifying students separately and telling them what to expect from the visits.

MIT spokeswoman Kimberly Allen said the memo was not prompted by any visit to the institute.

Immigration officials announced last year they would begin workplace visits for some students participating in the federal Optional Practical Training program. The program allows those with student visas to take temporary jobs related to their academic studies. Students in STEM fields can get their visas extended by two years, while others can get one-year extensions.

MIT joins other universities cautioning students about the possibility of the visits. Schools including the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University issued similar notices last August.

A Homeland Security website says the visits are meant to “reduce the potential for abuses” of the visa extension. It says employers will be given notice of visits 48 hours in advance unless the visit is tied to a complaint or other evidence of noncompliance.

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January 17, 2020