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New US Bill seeks to kill OPT work permit for foreign students

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An Arizona Republican congressman plans to introduce a bill that seeks to kill the government program, which is widely used by foreign students as a pathway to the H1-B visa. The program also allows US colleges graduates to work in the country for up to three years.

Reportedly in 2017, a record 2,76,500 foreign graduates received work permits under the OPT programme, in 2016 the number was 2,57,100. The H-1B visa has a total limit of 80,000 fresh visas yearly.

Under the current rules, a student on an F1 visa can stay on and work in the United States for 12 months after graduation. The duration is 36 months for STEM (science, technology and math) students.

The OPT program grew 400 per cent since the government in 2008 three-folded the time students and graduates in science, technology and math fields could stay in the states and work according to a Pew Research report.

Pew found that between 2004 and 2016, almost 1.5 million foreign graduates of US colleges and universities have been allowed to work under the OPT. Of these around 53 per cent were in the STEM fields.

According to The Denver Post, the Trump administration has increased the denial rate for H-1B visa applications. Adding to it, the administration has promised to scrap a program that allows employment for H-4 visa-carrying spouses of H-1B workers on track for green cards.

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