Carnegie Mellon University
December 02, 2020

News Alert: Recent Court Decisions Impacting Immigration

The Office of International Education (OIE) is pleased to report two recent court decisions related to immigration regulations, which provide good news for international students and scholars, as well as employers.

Decision Impacting Students in F-1 Status

On November 30, a judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Optional Practical Training (OPT). The court case, commonly referred to as the “WashTech” case, has been moving through the courts for several years causing concern for students who benefit from OPT and STEM OPT.

The decision in the case seems to end the legal battle, which means that F-1 students can feel relieved that OPT benefit will remain intact.  Students on OPT are reminded to continue following the rules for maintaining status, which remains a focus of the government.

Decision Impacting Employers & Workers Seeking H-1B Status

Earlier this semester, OIE shared updates on our website regarding Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule changes that have made it more difficult for employers to sponsor H-1B employees. On December 1, a judge set aside the DOL regulation that increased prevailing wages (already in effect) and the DHS rule that would have changed the definition of specialty occupation (set to go into effect next week). The judge ruled that the government had not met the necessary criteria to waive the normal public notice and comment period which are required in the rule-making process.

This court decision means that prevailing wage rates should return to the rates in effect prior to the rule change and there are no pending changes to the H-1B regulations, which is positive news for CMU departments and H-1B employees as well as our alums in, or seeking, H-1B status.

As always, OIE staff are readily available to support CMU’s international community. If you have questions about these court decisions, please email our team at