A federal district judge ruled in favor of continuing the Optional Practical Training (OPT) for international students. Ending a lawsuit by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, the courts reiterated that the OPT system, “benefits the American educational system, as well as the U.S. economy as a whole.”
History Of The OPT Lawsuit
A lawsuit that was initiated in 2014, the plaintiffs alleged that the OPT program negatively impacted the local job market and reduced opportunities for Americans. However, by 2016 Three associations – the National Association of Manufacturers, US Chamber of Commerce and Information Technology Industry Council teamed up with 118 other universities and intervened to argue the case on behalf of international students. The courts have finally recognized the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) authority to grant work authorization to international students once they graduate from their academic program in the U.S.
What Is OPT?
Optional Practical Training allows international students to work in the field within the U.S. for 12 months, and 24 additional months in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries.
The ability to work on OPT after graduation is considered crucial to many international students. Once these students complete their OPT and gain some experience in their chosen field of expertise, it opens up their chances of being sponsored for an H1-B, work visa for 7 more years, extendable by another 3. While this does increase foreign employment by U.S. employers, the OPT program allows for this highly skilled talent to be retained within the U.S. rather than lose them to global markets.
By providing term employment to highly skilled recent graduates, OPT ensures that this talent pool grows the American economy, and support American economic competitiveness.
Do you want a chance at a good OPT program??
Here’s a list of the top computer science programs in the US
Per data collected from the Cato Institute, USCIS approved 223,284 OPT applications in fiscal year 2019. However, OPT processing delays of up to 46% had put many foreign students on F1 student visas in jeopardy. With this lawsuit settled in favor of continuing OPT for future, here’s hoping that both international student enrollment and OPT will see an increase.