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Immigration Law

More foreign grads of U.S. colleges are staying in the country to work - Pew Research

Neil G. Ruiz, Pew Research, May 18, 2017 - "A growing number of high-skilled foreign workers find jobs in the United States under a program known as Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows foreign graduates from U.S. universities to work in the country on a temporary basis. The federal government approved nearly 700,000 OPT applications in fiscal years 2008 through 2014, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement data received through a Freedom of Information Act request. Data suggest that the total number of foreign graduates using OPT may continue to increase in subsequent years: More than 1 million foreign students studied at U.S. higher educational institutions in the 2015-16 school year, a record high.

U.S. college graduates with F-1 visas for foreign students may apply to OPT, and those approved may work in the U.S. for up to 12 months in their field of study. Foreign students majoring in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field may work in the U.S. for longer – up to 36 months. Unlike other U.S. visa programs, OPT has no cap on the number of foreign graduates who can participate. OPT is not subject to congressional oversight, though the program, which was created in 1947, can be changed by a U.S. president.

Here are some key facts about foreign college graduates working in the U.S. under the Optional Practical Training program...."