US government likely to grant 6-year visas for Indian students with STEM courses

The much-rejoiced news for Indian Students has hit the deck. US Government has proposed and submitted the new regulations before the Senate Judiciary Committee which states that students with STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math ) degrees to be allowed to work as much as six years under the Optional Training Program after the completion of undergraduate degree. The proposal came in the wake of hundreds of US tech workers complained about being replaced by guest workers from India at Disneyland as they were ‘cheap’.

us visa for indian students
us visa for indian students

As per the current regulations, foreign students who graduate from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses from US Government-certified Educational Institution are allowed to work for 29 months under Optical Training Program (OPT) while students graduating from non-STEM courses can work for 12 months. Foreign students (mostly from India and China) use the OPT time frame to take up jobs or internships so that the employers sponsor them for an H1-B visa if they perform well during the time.

With the implementation of proposed regulations, students graduating from STEM course will be provided a six-year work permit. This move will benefit Indian Students most as maximum of them take STEM courses. The new proposal will therefore expand the opportunities to get a job and an H 1-B visa, too. Adding another feature to the proposal, the government also wants to grant work permits to H-4 visa holders (spouses of H1-B) who meet certain eligibility requirements. This move from Obama Government will increase the chances of Foreign students to get a job and an H1-B visa for up to six years and will ensure that students is not under pressure to return to the native country after the completion of studies.

While we see benefits of this proposal, it is a must condition to look towards the negative side – exploitation of workers. On Thursday, the anti-outsourcing brigade persuaded the US Labor Department to run an investigation into two India-based firms, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), for alleged violations of rules for visas for foreign technology workers.

Reputed Lawmaker ‘Chuck Grassley’ has taken the step irrelevant and dangerous and has written a complaint letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Jeh Johnson. “The proposed new regulations, while still being internally discussed, are irresponsible and dangerous considering the Government Accountability Office report issued in March 2014 finding that the (OPT) program was full of inefficiencies, susceptible to fraud, and that the Department was not adequately overseeing it,” the letter reads.

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