Arizona Congressman seeks to kill OPT work permit for foreign students

An Arizona Congressman plans to introduce a bill to end a federal authorities program — broadly used as a pathway to the H-1B visa — that lets foreign students and graduates of U.S. schools work on this nation for up to three years.

Republican Paul Gosar expects to introduce to the House of Representatives inside two weeks the “Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act of 2019” to kill the Optional Practical Training program, his office talked about Friday.

The OPT program grew 400 p.c inside the decade after the federal authorities in 2008 boosted the number of time students and graduates in science, know-how and math fields could maintain inside the U.S. and work, Pew Research reported remaining yr. San Jose and San Francisco are among the many many nation’s prime places for graduates inside the OPT program, Pew found. In the newest years, the OPT program surpassed the H-1B as the most important provisions of the newest short-term immigrant workers deemed to be extraordinarily professional, in accordance with Pew.

Gosar’s proposed bill — first observed by Bloomberg Law — would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to ban work under the OPT or any successor program without an act of Congress. His office talked about he moreover plans to ship to President Donald Trump, inside two weeks, a letter asking him to eradicate the OPT by means of authorities order.

The title of Gosar’s proposed bill is a response to a bill launched in February from the other side of the aisle, Gosar’s office talked about. California Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) sponsored the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019,” which could scrap the per-country cap on employment-based immigrants and enhance the per-country limit for family-sponsored immigrants.

The OPT principally extends F-1 coaching visas for foreign faculty and school students to enable them to work all through or after school. The program’s base-level permit lasts a yr, nevertheless, a “STEM extension” permits members to spend an extra two years working inside the U.S.

Pew found that between 2004 and 2016, practically 1.5 million foreign graduates of U.S. schools and universities have been allowed to work under the OPT, with 53 p.c specializing in STEM fields.

Growth of the OPT program slowed in 2017, Pew talked about in a particular report. Though a doc 276,500 foreign graduates obtained work permits under the OPT program that yr, up from 257,100 in 2016, enrollment on this system grew by 8 p.c in 2017, in distinction to 34 p.c the yr sooner than, the most important decline in growth charge since 2004, Pew reported.

Congressman Gosar’s push to decrease the OPT program follows furor over the H-1B. That visa, supposed for jobs requiring specialized experience, is carefully relied upon by foremost Silicon Valley tech firms, which lobby for an increase to the annual 85,000 caps on new visas. But critics degree to reported abuses by outsourcers and argue that the H-1B is used to supplant American workers and drive down wages with cheaper foreign labor.

The Trump administration has dramatically elevated the denial charge for H-1B visa functions, with outsourcers inserting foreign workers in U.S. jobs exhibiting to bear the brunt of the rejections. The administration has moreover promised to scrap a program that permits employment for H-4 visa-carrying spouses of H-1B workers on observe for inexperienced enjoying playing cards.

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