It is a collective victory of international students, universities, and employers against the lawsuit set to stop overseas students from working on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
A federal district court judge has declared that he will order against the plaintiff who filed the lawsuit and issue a judgment order favoring the trade associations and the department of homeland security (DHS), who defended the international students.
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The court issues order in favour of international students
The judgment has come at a compassionate time. According to the result of a survey conducted in fall 2020, there is a significant drop in international students’ enrollment in the country. New enrolment has dropped by 72% in the country, which is a startling figure.
Let us first understand the background of the lawsuit. It will help us realize why the federal court judge Reggie B. Walton issued the judgment order favoring international students in the U.S.
The Washington alliance of technology workers, also known as Wash Tech, filed a lawsuit to declare optional practical training as illegal.
The Department of Homeland Security was the defendant in the lawsuit. Optional Practical Training is necessary for international students. It gives a scope to work for one year and another two years in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields based on strict monitoring. The opportunity to work on optional practical training is crucial for several international students.
In a recent interview with Paul Hughes of McDermott Will & Emery, he said that the three trade associations, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, and The U.S Chamber of Commerce, had tried to safeguard the rights and privileges of international students.
The plaintiff claims that the optional practical training is detrimental for the domestic students. It reduces the job opportunities of domestic students and U.S workers, which is entirely not true.
Several employees and organizations have supported the optional practical training program. They do not feel that the optional practical training program hampers the job opportunities in any way. Around 52 companies and 11 businesses have supported optional practical training. They have even signed a petition to give their support to international students.
What did the defendants say to win the lawsuit?
The defendants explain to the court judge that it is hugely beneficial for the American education system and the national economy. The OPT program recruits the best brains of the world to work for the American economy. And everybody knows when the national weather economy is above the average, it helps to bring an all-round development of the country. It helps to increase job opportunities for U.S. workers. Suppose these job opportunities are closed when international students will work for other countries. They will help to grow the national economy of the other countries.
It is something like this. The U.S. Universities will train international students and send them to other countries to use their skills to grow and develop their economy. The U.S. economy will suffer, which is entirely unacceptable during the pandemic era.
The U.S. economy has already suffered a lot due to the pandemic. Trump’s economic stimulus plans have forced the country to borrow like never before. A few months back, the unemployment rate went to 14%. The national GDP is relatively low. At this point, international students are also not showing much interest in U.S. universities due to strict visa rules. If the OPT program is declared illegal, more international students will go to other countries for higher studies henceforth.
The Canadian universities are already reopening with new education and immigration laws. International students are showing interest in studying at Canadian universities and some other foreign universities. If the U.S. economy has to grow, then programs like OPT need to run for a long time.
The judge has not given his written decision yet. But the summary of the entire order will come soon in the next two months. Undoubtedly, it is a tremendous victory for employers, workers, universities, and companies.
The court has not yet issued the summary of the judgment in writing due to some unavoidable circumstances. But when the court issues the judgment, it will reject the plaintiff’s claim and give an order in favor of the defendant’s. The federal court judge has made his decision already.
Organizations that search and recruit global talents feel that optional practical training is necessary to attract international students. Countries like Australia, Canada, and the U.K. are taking steps to attract international students. If the federal court judge issued an order favoring the plaintiff, it is 100% sure that international students will not come to the U.S. to finish their higher studies. Trump’s last stroke – the new visa rules have already irked international students.
The new visa rules state that international students can get only four years to study and stay in the country. Previously, international students could remain in the country as long as they were studying. They could switch to another course and remain in the country. But as per the new rule, those golden days are over for international students.
Immigration and Nationality Act allowed international students to work in the country. The Act was introduced in the year 1952. Henceforth, international students code work in the country. President Bush and Obama broadened the optional practical training program a few years back. The lawsuit goes against the Immigration and Nationality Act. If the plaintiff won the lawsuit, then the country would have paid a heavy price in the future. It is good that the federal court judge used his wisdom and saved the country from disgrace.
International students are happy with the judgment. But it is unsure if it will affect the new enrollment of international students. The U.S. universities and the government have to work proactively to attract international students soon.