The administration of Barack Obama seems to be in overdrive appears to give extra benefits and work permits to residents who are legal. In order to adhere to the demands of the tech industry in order to open up the avenues for more overseas workers who are skilled in order to compete here for the jobs.
The Department of Homeland Security is moving forward in order to expand the authorized period of the work for the foreign students who are on F1 visas as they graduate which is technically known as the optional practical training (OPT) and to make it similar as the H-1B visa holders for a complete six years.
Currently, OPT for the foreign students who complete their graduation or under graduation program I US from an institution which is DHS certified is for either twelve months for programs related to non-STEM or for programs related to STEM for 29 months.
In this period, students may take up work in the study field as they like or they may not be a trainee and for it they may also be paid. For the students who want to stay in US in order to prove that they are an asset to work. Their bet is that they the company sponsoring them during the time-frame of OPT with H-1B visa. If the company sponsors them the H-1B visa and still it fails and they do not make lottery system cut due to the soaring demand of H-1B visa. Their best alternative is to be educated further and to continue to stay as a resident who is legal and to try new luck at one more shot at work visa.
It seems that the DHS now for the F1 students plan to give them benefits, which is equal to the holders of H-1B visa.
Also, the H-1B visa demand may grow higher next year by 100% if the latest rules for students of F1 visa this year will be going into effect and only one out of ten students may obtain an H-1B visa leaving the workers who are talented in order to lose out an opportunity which is once in a life time.
The proposals of DHS for the students of F1 visas will see more students undoubtedly in case they come through, especially if they flock to US from China and India.