Optional Practical Training Programme (OPT) may have its advantages on the American economy. Still, the Trump administration may impose new restrictions on students who want to work in the United States after graduation on Optional Practical Training (OPT).
OPT gives international students to work in the US after graduation, for three years at most.
In light of the recent Novel coronavirus crisis, Trump administration issued a presidential proclamation banning the entry of most new immigrants for at least 60 days and requested a 30-day review to propose new temporary visa holders restrictions.
Senator Paul Gossar shares his concerns about current rules for OPT in a letter to The White House in June 2019. He notes that the F1 foreign workers on OPT or their employers are not needed to pay FICA taxes. This creates a 15% rebate when employers choose to OPT for foreign workers before American workers. This results in billions of tax losses to the US economy.
He also notes that OPT jeopardizes job opportunities for American Citizens as OPT foreign workers are hired before American debt-laden college graduates.
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Rebuttal for the Elimination of OPT
Impact on the US Economy
According to a study by Zavodny for the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), policymakers may assess if even more massive restrictions may be needed. Else, if it is more likely to harm the US economy, technological innovation, and American universities.
NAFSA’s latest analysis finds that during the 2018-19 academic year, most international students studying at US colleges and universities accorded $41 billion to the US economy. They also bore 458,290 jobs to the same.
Big Tech Firms Set up by Immigrants
Moreover, nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies were set up by first-generation immigrants or their successors. Many of the biggest tech firms such as Google, Tesla, and Yahoo! were founded by immigrants or second-generation immigrants.
Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, who was the biological son of a Syrian immigrant. Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos, who is a second-generation Cuban immigrant.
Flattening the Curve of Unemployment
The tech firms founded by immigrants are responsible for increments in employment. The NFAP Policy Brief Study 2019 finds no proof that international students on OPT harm US workers’ job opportunities. Instead, the evidence rather shows that when US workers are thin on the ground, US employers can choose foreign student workers.
The immigration research organization for NFAP brief study 2019 also notes that the data shows that international students participating in OPT (constituting in STEM occupations); the unemployment rates are significantly lower.
Besides, the OPT program instead contributes to economic growth. STEM workers are of the essence to the US economy, many of whom are foreign-born
On the whole
For a long time, one of the prime agendas of the Trump presidency has been to limit or eliminate OPT. But curtailing OPT has many downsides affecting the US economy and employment number.
The NFAP brief study of 2019 concludes that the OPT program provides a way for the US to nurture talent from non-American countries. Perhaps, Trump’s American dream, Buy American, Hire American, may never see the light of day. Surely, not limiting the OPT will most certainly make America great again.