The US had received around 35,000 comments regarding the plan for extending the Program for Optional Training (OPT) for the STEM students from the current 29 months to 36 months. The closing date for sending the comments was in this week.
By mounting the time length for the students who could work on the student visa, US is very much trying to provide these students additional time to obtain a H-1B visa. The demand for the H-1B visas, from the IT outsourcing companies are making it difficult for the students who passed out from the US schools to acquire the work visa.
Majority of the comments which has been received by the US is supporting the program, which is not a surprise. If the efforts of the government fail, many of the STEM students might be forced to leave the country. The government of the US is acting under the court order for bringing the program into fulfillment with the regulation.
By the month of September, more than 34,000 students were studying in the US on the STEM OPT extension.
The comments, some of which were anonymous, were collected over the previous month. Technically, the US said that it had received around 50,000 comments, but it had posted only 35,000 comments and moderates it before posting the comments. The replies describe the sharp divide on this matter.
There is small doubt about President Obama’s administration wishing to extend the program. The US, in its explanation of the proposed changes told that the decree would help the educational system by assisting and ensuring that the country’s universities and colleges stay universally competitive in pulling the foreign students towards the STEM fields.
The question raises whether the collection of the comments meet the compulsions forced in the month of August by the US federal court. The court had ruled that government made a mistake by not looking for the public comments in the year 2008, when it initially extended the OPT program from 12 to 29 months for STEM students. The court gives the US time till 12th February for fixing the program or threat providing the students 2 months for returning to their home.
The US in reply, raised the extent of program; it takes the STEM OPT expansion of 17 months and make it 2 years. This means that the time the student can work on the student visa had been would be extended from 29 to 36 months.