The US government has increased the list of persons who are authorised to work from the US in study-related jobs.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Wednesday that it would expand the STEM OPT (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics Optional Practical Training) programme to include eight additional subjects of study.
Landscape Architecture, Institutional Research, Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician, Composite Materials Technology/Technician, Linguistics and Computer Science, Developmental and Adolescent Psychology, Geospatial Intelligence, and Demography and Population Studies are among the eight fields of study that have been added to the STEM Designated Degree Programme List.
The OPT programme allows F-1 visa students to get real job experience in their field of study either during or after they complete their degree. The programme generally allows students to work for 12 months, however, students with degrees in particular STEM subjects can request a 24-month extension of their OPT, allowing them to work for a total of 36 months.
The government expanded STEM OPT eligibility in January of last year, adding 22 acceptable disciplines of study. Since then, DHS has received nominations for an additional 120 fields of study to be put on the list, but it has only chosen eight. Complete information on the new programmes can be found here.
Previously, the Trump administration threatened to remove or apply new restrictions to OPT and STEM OPT, putting a regulatory action on the DHS agenda. This change pushed students, particularly Indians, to apply to universities in Canada.
The new move comes as the Canadian government stated that up to 10,000 H-1B visa holders would be granted open work permits for up to three years to work for Canadian firms.
The US government’s recent move to expand the fields of study eligible for STEM OPT is intended to keep highly trained persons in the country.