(NEWS) New research suggests that foreign students in STEM don’t hurt American Workers

A union of technology workers in Washington state has been urging courts since 2014 to strike down the “Optional Practical Training” program available to foreign students studying at American universities. Although the union’s previous challenges failed, it recently asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision to uphold the program. The tech workers’ case hinges on the assertion that OPT threatens the livelihoods of American workers, but in reality, the data proves otherwise.

Optional practical training, or OPT, is a program that allows international graduates of U.S. universities to continue their education by pursuing a training position relevant to their studies for one year following graduation. These graduates, particularly those with in-demand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees, are often incredibly valuable to American employers, and the practical nature of workplace experience provides an essential continuation of their academic studies…

Cecilia Esterline, Niskanen Center
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