• Laura D. Francis


With President Barack Obama’s deferred action programs still on hold because of a federal court order, the administration is continuing to roll out other parts of the president’s executive action on immigration.

That includes the expansion of optional practical training for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities who earn a degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field. The OPT program, which has existed in one form or another for several decades, allows foreign students on F-1 visas to work in the U.S. in their fields of study for 12 months post-graduation.

Allowing foreign students in STEM fields to work in the U.S. even longer dates back to issuance of a 2008 Homeland Security Department regulation.

On Oct. 19, the DHS proposed a further expansion of OPT for STEM graduates. Instead of the current 17-month extension—which allows STEM students to work up to 29 months total—the proposal would increase the extension to 24 months, allowing students to work a total of 36 months in the U.S. after graduating with a STEM degree. … Read the full story by Laura D. Francis.

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