Sector stakeholders have condemned the latest attempt to undermine the Optional Practical Training program, highlighting evidence that shows OPT creates – rather than takes away – employment for US citizens.
Recent changes in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations mean that designated school officials are now required to carry out an increased range of responsibilities, proving and recording that students are undertaking OPT workplace-based training in a relevant field to their studies.
A record number of international graduates of US institutions were authorised to work in the country through the Optional Practical Training program in 2017, but growth has "slowed dramatically" according to a Pew Research Center analysis.
The 17-month extension of a year-long US post-study work programme for STEM graduates will stay in place until May 10, it was announced this week. The decision by Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle gives international educators in the US an extra three months to campaign for longer post-study work visas for STEM students.