Many foreign students are anxiously waiting for the US federal government to publish its latest rule on overseas worker training program also known as OPT program so that they can stay for more period of time in the US.
The US government would publish the regulation on Friday, saying that the foreign students earning degrees in technology, science, mathematics and engineering fields would now be entitled to reside for three years of on the work training. This is seven months longer than under the 2008 regulation it replace for the STEM OPT program. The latest regulation would take effect on 10th May.
Graduates would apply in April for a H-1B visa. But the US Congress had capped those annual at 65,000 with an extra 20,000 slots for graduates with advanced degrees. The US government has got nearly four times as many applications for those visas as were accepted in previous year’s lottery.
This regulation is another flash point in the row over changes in immigration. Industry leaders who said that they are desperate for the skilled talent and those who are defending the rights of the US workers view the training program’s extension as an end round to stop the changes.
The latest regulation states directly that the STEM OPT students will not replace a full time or part time, temporary or permanent US employee and that the salary provided will be commensurate to the US employees.
The officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency told that they are trying to tighten the training programs, mandate oversight of the employers and making sure that the students comes from the accredited universities.
The agency told that it would offer help sessions for qualified students, employers and academic institutions on its portal.