President Larry Bacow traveled to Washington, DC this week to meet with members of Congress to discuss a range of University priorities and concerns, including the uncertainties federal immigration policy has created for faculty and students at Harvard and at universities across the nation. Read more
In a related move, Bacow also sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan last week calling on them to expedite the visa and immigration process for foreign students and researchers.
F-1 students who applied for OPT are facing unprecedented delays in receiving their EADs (employment authorization documents). These delays not only affect our recent graduates and HU hiring departments, but those across the U.S. Without EADs, students have no income and are not permitted to begin working until they get their EADs. They cannot travel outside the U.S. and reenter the U.S. without the EAD. In previous years, OPT applications have taken 60-100 days to be processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but the processing time this year is much longer than previous years. Recent estimates are that OPT processing could take as long as 5.5 months. These delays are part of a bigger problem within USCIS. The General Accountability Office (GAO) will undertake a study in the fall at the urging of Congress to investigate USCIS processing times which have increased by up to 46 percent since Fiscal Year 2016. We are working with various offices across the University and professional organizations to advocate for our students. Please feel free to contact your HIO advisor if you have any questions.