How OPT Hurts American College Students and American Tech Workers
When employed, Americans contribute to social security and in turn, their employers contribute to “unemployment” benefits when jobs are terminated. The same can not be said of OPT (Optional Practical Training) workers.
OPT visas are available to foreign workers with F-1 student visa status after just three months of attending a U.S. university. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended OPT visas to allow for an additional 17 month extension for students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors, allowing foreign students to work for three years in the U.S. through OPT.
The belief that “OPT provides a relief valve for employers who can’t find enough workers” is in actuality a myth–a story, a fable, that those who benefit from cheap, pliable labor want you to believe is true. The reality is, today, more than 50 million Americans between the ages of 18 – 54 remain unemployed.
Conversely, the OPT program, according to the PEW Research Institute has grown more than 400% from 2008 to 2016, with OPT approvals outnumbering H1B approvals for giving non-U.S. citizens legal options to work in the U.S.