US worker protections that permit STEM grads to work on student visa is stirring controversy

December 04, 2015
The US employees protections in the federal rule which permits the STEM graduates to get employed on the student visa for a period of three years has been getting more controversial.

The US government, as part of their proposed OPT extension for students related to STEM needs the employers to confirm that they would not end, dismiss or lay off any part time or full time, permanent or temporary US employees  as the outcome of employing an OPT employee.

US worker protections that permit STEM grads to work on student visa is stirring controversy

The suggestion includes the limitations about how program is monitored and managed and whether the students on the OPT program could be hired by the staffing agencies.

The US wishes to extend this OPT program for the STEM related students from 29 months to 36 months. The wide aim is to provide some protection for the US employees as part of 7 month OPT expansion.

Over 40,000 comments had been accepted about projected rule; the group of industries had waited until end of period of filing late previous month had stated their concerns.

The US had introduced the latest OPT rule in the month of October, after the court had found that US had made a mistake for not seeking the comments from the public on the first rule in the year 2008. The previous rule had extended OPT program for the students related to STEM from one year to 29 months. The court gave US time till 12thFeb for fixing the program. And if the US failed to reply to court order, the affected overseas students on the extension period might be given 2 months for returning back to their homes.

Two separate filings demonstrate the tensions growing regarding the rule and sharp divide about what conclusion rule must comprise.

In a report it was stated the till the end of September month, over 34,000 students were in US on STEM related OPT extension.

An additional possible area of the controversy is the job of OPT employees by the staffing companies. The US believes that the need of training and mentoring would make it further difficult for the temporary agencies to fulfill, efficiently not including them to the OPT program.

The business groups are not getting up to defend the temporary agencies but they are attacking mentoring rules, its training, reporting and monitoring needs.

What is not up for the debate is merit of seven month OPT extension, which government seems to place on finalizing. The first OPT extension got approved as the path to provide the students who lost the visa lottery related to H-1B with another chance to file for the temporary job visa.

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