Merely after a week of the federal government’s proposal for expanding the time for overseas STEM students to work in the US on the student visa they had received almost 3000 comments that are supporting the proposed changes by Obama Administration. In the new set of rules, the US seek changes to the OPT program.
The US started accepting the comments on the rule regulation on the 19th October and they will continue to get those till 18th November. The comments can be filed at the regulations website.
This OPT program is allowing the overseas students to work for about a year on the US student visa. But in the year 2008, the Bush administration adds a 17 month of extension for the STEM students, its an extension that the Obama administration has also authorized. There are over 1,00,000 overseas students working on the STEM extensions.
This revised OPT program has increased the one and half year STEM extension to two years, which means that the overseas STEM students will be able to do job in the US for 36 months.
It is also seeking the development of programs for formal mentoring, OPT workers wage protection and ban against replacement of US workers.
This STEM extension has nothing to do with the mentoring. Previously Bush administration had sought it due to heavy demand for the H-1B visas, from the IT companies, and it was exceeding the annual limit on that visa. It means that if the overseas student doesn’t get the H-1B visa before the expiry period of OPT, then there was risk of individual being forced to leave the country.
Although US has extended the program of OPT for STEM students for addressing the H-1B visa demand and supply issues, the revisions related to the regulatory which also include the raise in the importance on mentoring as the part of the program, raises new queries.