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DHS To Extend OPT To 60 Months, Says Employers, Universities, Students Demand It (natlawreview.com) 178

theodp writes: In August, Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle called BS on 'emergency' changes made by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in 2008 to Optional Practical Training (OPT) that extended the amount of time foreign STEM graduates of U.S. colleges could stay in the country and work ("to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage," as Bill Gates explained it in 2007). "The 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft and similar industry groups," said the Judge in her ruling, which threatened to invalidate STEM OPT extensions in February. But the DHS fired back Monday with a new proposed rule — Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students — that will extend STEM OPT to as much as 60 months (a standard 12-month OPT period, plus two 24-month extensions). Foreign students demand it, explained the DHS, as do public colleges and universities, who "particularly benefit from the payment of tuition by foreign students, especially in comparison to the tuition paid by in-state students." DHS estimates that the proposed rule will affect 634,464 foreign STEM students over the next 10 years.
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DHS To Extend OPT To 60 Months, Says Employers, Universities, Students Demand It

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  • woah woah woah (Score:5, Informative)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @06:52PM (#50769421) Homepage
    hold the phone a second

    Foreign students demand it, explained the DHS, as do public colleges and universities, who "particularly benefit from the payment of tuition by foreign students, especially in comparison to the tuition paid by in-state students." DHS estimates that the proposed rule will affect 634,464 foreign STEM students over the next 10 years.

    so the schools are selling us americans out to foreigners because... surprise surprise they get paid more! And even worse the government is supporting that????

    where are all the "tuition is to high" americans at??? they need to stand up and say enough is enough

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "tuition is to high"

      "grammar is too low!"

    • Re:woah woah woah (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @08:04PM (#50769909)

      where are all the "tuition is to high" americans at??? they need to stand up and say enough is enough

      In theory, the high tuitions that foreign students pay keeps tuition lower for domestic students.

      • by tsm_sf ( 545316 )
        Which would be great if there were unlimited enrollment in class. Which there isn't.
      • With those that have college degrees working minimum wage jobs, it's creating a class of slaves.
      • Re:woah woah woah (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @05:40AM (#50771671)

        In theory, the high tuitions that foreign students pay keeps tuition lower for domestic students.

        BS. It doesn't work that way. Because of regulations, they can only charge state residents so much. So they charge others more. You're imagining some kind of "This is our total budget, so if others pay more, they pay less" scheme. Hahahaha. What world do you live in?

        It's just exactly greed, nothing more.

      • Except... load of shit.. because why does a country like Germany have the best universities which are all free to residents and non-residents. Having tuition is just bullshit and of course the grubby mofo's who run them want to capitalize on that and rake in as much cash as possible, American citizens be damned.

        I am *so* disgusted with Obama's failures and wholesale selling out of America.

        Donald Trump 2016

    • that this will reduce tuition paid because the foreign students subsidize local students. As someone trying to come up with the money to send a kid to college I know full well this is bullshit, but what can I do? 30 years of Reagenomics and Starve the Beast means anyone not in the top 10% is boned...

      Wish we could do something about it, but good luck. Nobody gives a shit. Hell, us techies laughed at the blue collar folks while they were losing their jobs overseas. We kept voting in right wing free trade j
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ganjadude ( 952775 )
        dont blame reganomics for the high cost of school. blame salle mae and guaranteed student loans

        look at the charts, as soon as the feds guaranteed they would pick up the tab, prices started going up and up and up. The schools have no reason to care how you do when you get there because YOU arent paying them, the government does. They dont care that you get stuck paying the government back for years afterwards.

        if you are going to go off on "right wingers" at least go after them for legit reasons, this o
        • Nice try (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rsilvergun ( 571051 )
          but the cost of higher education was always, well, high. We just like to forget the massive federal subsidies we got in the 90s. To be fair it wasn't Reagan who cut them, it was Clinton/Bush jr. But Reagan's administration (along with Karl Rove) created the notion of 'starve the beast) that underpinned the cuts. The idea, crammed into our skulls over and over again, that We Can't Afford It, usually because of debt (nevermind that a modest capital gains plus repatrioting 2 trillion sitting off shore could ta
          • by faraway ( 174370 )

            Cost of college education in California was $300 a year ($1800 in today's money / year).

            College education was basically free before.

            It's only since the far right has been cutting taxes to further enrich their corporate owners and further indebt the US that social services have suffered.

            Thanks for playing.

      • Try getting the vote out. That in itself is what will change things.
    • This is pre-Adam Smith bull shit. Decreasing trade is not how you build the wealth of a nation. Basically, when an industry gets lots of high productivity workers added to it, this has the potential to simply increase incumbent worker salaries. That is, it could increase productivity of all workers to have a larger, more productive, workforce in place. There is a tendency to see this as a zero sum game but there is absolutely no evidence that it is.

    • The only reason these turds wash up on American soil is because they are being sponsored by businesses that are hell bent on driving down wages; and with a uncaring detriment to the people that live here. With a billion dollars, there's nothing one cannot purchase; so what's this race to die with the most toys all about?
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Isn't that how it's supposed to be in capitalist America? A university degree brings you economic benefit in the form of higher wages (in theory). Free market economics set the price, and foreign students are willing to pay more for the education and then work for less when they graduate. Why would Americans expect not to compete?!

      This is what happens when you turn the education of your country's youth into a for-profit business. The best part is that in 20 years time when you need a doctor you will get to

  • Fuck You, DHS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @06:53PM (#50769445)

    Fuck You, DHS.

    • Astute and insightful, indeed.
    • Fuck you too, Citizen.

      Oh, wait, that's precisely the point. Like most of the rest of the US government, part of the mandate of DHS is now protecting corporate interests like copyright and making sure they can have cheap foreign labor to drive down wages.

      Who's fucked now?

    • Why all this hate?
  • Come on now. Sensibly, if you're going to be protectionist at all (ever), wouldn't it make a tiny bit of sense to keep your domestic intelligentsia engaged in active study and gainful employment?
  • by tuxgeek ( 872962 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @06:59PM (#50769489)
    "It all makes perfect sense, expressed in dollars and cents." .. Roger Waters
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @07:17PM (#50769595)

    The only reason for these ridiculous band aids is that getting a green card takes fucking forever and the standards for work visas are incorrectly set. A BA/BSc/BEng from Harvard and Podunk State are considered equal. It's no secret that American universities attract some of the smartest people on the planet, which is a unique advantage that the US has. Competition for top universities is fierce and pretty much manages to swoop in the top talent on the planet. The problem is then that the immigration system is not at all merit based. Someone with a degree from Harvard is on equal footing with a graduate from a completely unknown school which accepts everyone who can send them a check.

    The problem is that one should keep out people that are no better than what can be sourced among the local population. At the same time the immigration system needs to guarantee continuity for top students while quickly getting them to the point where they can stay permanently, which allow them to do things like start a family, buy a house etc. If the immigration system forces someone to move abroad even for a month there's a high chance they're not coming back.

    • I think you nailed this. I currently go to Yale and unfortunately many other international students are *terrified* of finding a means to stay in the US. This is idiotic! Most of us want to stay at least for a while, and I think a majority plan to make it permanent. It really is a no brainer: jobs in our home countries pay an order of magnitude less than the US and there is also no interesting work outside the US in many areas (like computer science). However, how can you separate Harvard from Podunk? SAT s
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun" - Mao Zedong

  • pushes wages down (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @07:33PM (#50769699)

    i imagine the problem of "employee shortage" could be fixed in the private market (via higher salaries) rather than by passing laws to bring in outside people to work for less...

    • Except that the private market is the group that's pushing for the laws to allow them to bring in outside people to work for less.

      What broken train of logic makes you think the private market is going to suddenly stop doing that and start offering higher salaries to fix the imaginary shortage that they've made up in order to try and get those laws passed?

      Ooh, let me guess... you're a Libertarian, aren't you.

      • by BVis ( 267028 )

        We could start by either fixing the H1-B system (for example, actually enforcing the rule that H1-Bs must be paid the "prevailing wage" for a given market and skill set) or eliminate it altogether. Make it easier for people with skill sets valuable to US employers to get work visas that are NOT tied to one specific company, like the H1-B is. If they're not beholden to their employer for their status, then companies have to compete for them, the same as 'natural born' workers. Stop allowing employers to c

  • H-1B is bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @08:15PM (#50769995)

    99% of the H-1B circus is bullshit.

    Are you really telling me that in this entire country there isn't anyone with the skills to fill that job? BULLSHIT.
    This is probably even true at a state level, and also probably true at a local level as well.

    Maybe if you're looking for something really esoteric, but a programming job or skill? Sorry, I call BULLSHIT.

    It's nothing more than a way to get cheap, compliant labor while simultaneously driving down wages and sucking up tax breaks. I live a few miles from Microsofts Redmond campus, trust me when I say that I know what I'm talking about.

    The entire H-1B program should junked and redone so that only TRULY "unfindable" skills or candidates would qualify.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is certainly a demand in the upper echelons with respect to skill and talent. There is certainly someone who can do the job, but the problem is that they probably already have a job. For jobs in Finance where firms look to hire people that are at the level of being among the top graduates from top schools in mathematics, we are talking about a fairly small bunch, which is very small if you discount foreign students. Unfortunately, with all the Indian outsourcing firms hoarding the H-1B visas, they vis

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      For programming its pretty common. For a lot of the northern states, Canada is closer than going across the country. TN1 visa is okay, but people eventually want something more permanent for quality of life (TN1 makes it hard to own property, for example), so a lot of H1Bs go to Canadians.

      And with all the startups in Cambridge, NYC, etc, its VERY hard to build a team of any significant size, even if you're allowing remote workers, pay for relocation, etc.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      re "99% of the H-1B circus is bullshit."
      The origins of the ideas surrounding the lax, well funded international student enrolment go back to the Cold War. The US wanted to accept, educated and pump out as many skilled people from different nations as it could. They would return home with first hand experiences of freedom, democracy, advanced US science, the big US brands and US only methods.
      Some of then on average given a good US degree would infect their city, lower or higher government positions with
      • That doesn't apply today; and to be truthful it goes back to when the first human wanted something better in life; that's a long time ago. So businesses hire these folks by the boat load and dump them into the U.S. economy. And for those that say there isn't an American that can do the job? They're not in a crowd of shoppers at WalMart. They're cowards.
    • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2015 @10:11PM (#50770473)

      Actually there are lots and lots of jobs where a particular skillset won't exist in the local market. This often comes about when an industry expands rapidly. One example would be the shale gas growth in the US. While there were people who had experience mapping the reservoirs locally there would have been a ridiculous shortage of people who would be genuinely able to do the work at the level required. It simply was impossible for the local market to supply those people as they weren't needed at all 10 years ago.

      It's not even a case that if I offer more money I can get one. It is the case that there are 100 jobs but only 75 people who can do it. And if it takes 20 years to be able to do that job it doesn't matter how much money I offer there will still be 25 jobs un-filled.

      This actually happens a lot more than you might think.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        So why are people being laid off and forced to train their H-1B replacements before they go? Disney pretty much disproves your story of it all by themselves.

      • Shale gas exploration is definitely an extreme case because it is guaranteed to only be allowed to happen where there are practically no people whatsoever. Lots of people I know where I am from are involved in gas exploration and they go up to Minnesota and work for months at a time. That is a long way away from here, but the company pays it and pays them well. This is an example of the system working. There are people in the U.S. who have skills and there is a need for such skills in another part of the U.
        • That would be for the site based roles. But there are a lot of office based roles as well. Geophysicists, reservoir engineers, production engineers, geologists etc which don't go out to the sites that much. Quite a few of them are based in Houston even though their sites might be on the other side of the country. There aren't enough of those people in the country to fill those roles, let alone the ones which require tough working conditions.

          You also see the same in things like civil infrastructure engin

          • You are limited to places like Australia & Canada which aren't known for their cheap labour.

            Which is what it's really always about, isn't it? Despite all your whining about "unavailable people". It's still all about "unavailable at the price I want to pay".

    • He's the only [computerworld.com] candidate to oppose more H1-Bs.
      • Way ahead of you...I'll be voting for him both in the primary and in the general election. :)

      • He has my vote. He's the only one during the debates that could communicate the general attitude of GOP witch hunts; better than Hillary, and he even took the lead on the email non-sense. The gal is good at dotting i's, and crossing t's; but I see no leadership from her. I'll support a candidate that says to business, "enough is enough."
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      US schools should teach Hindi. I've noticed that lots of these job applications have requirements like "fluent in Hindi", so it's clearly an in-demand skill for US workers to have. I can't imagine why, but if that's what they want...

      • US schools should teach Hindi.

        Schools these days barely teach English, I'm not sure they're capable of teaching an actual foreign language.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      Frankly, I don't know. If you are looking at statistics [1], the unemploymenet in young graduates is only 5%. When you account for the ones between two jobs and the ones that falls in the category "the guy graduated but you really wonder why", it seems to me that the jobs are filled. So I can buy the argument that there is a shortage of talents.

      Now, how this is managed by the H1B process and the OPT is dubious. (I am on H1B right now, and I find the status is weird.) I work in a univesity, and our graduates

      • I think that 99% of the typical programmer or developer jobs could be filled from within the US, frankly.

        More specialized jobs (i.e. biomedical research positions) are more difficult to fill domestically, but if you look at the majority of positions H-1Bs are used for, it's hard to deny that there are almost certainly plenty of qualified applicants available in the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With the 10,000's of jobs that IT staff have lost to whole departments being relocated to India, I seriously question the claim of shortage of skilled IT labor. What they're short on is people to work for almost free living 8 to a house. Ref: Disney Florida, SunCorp bank, HP printer and networks division, (and the list goes on). I bet the majority of the 87000 H1-B visas are being hoarded by just a very few large companies: TCS, IBM, Accenture, EDS, etc.

  • by nickweller ( 4108905 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2015 @10:56AM (#50773289)
    translation: We want more cheap foreign labour ..
    • You don't know what you are talking about, so stop these nonsense! Tell me if a MS or a PhD student invested so much effort in coming over to US (leaving all his/her family and support structure behind), then why can't they demand a support structure which provides them stability with respect to finding a relevant job here in US? In fact not having a longer OPT was the worst policy. Many students were forced/rushed to find employment in order to meet H1-B quotas and that led to employers acting as gods and
      • a job in the US at all? Are US citizens allowed to go live and work in any country they want?

        • and all those foreign grads contribute significantly to US economy. Yes, they can work anywhere they want. In fact there is a significant number of US expatriates working in EU, East Asia, and South America.
          • get a job there? Yes or No?

            Oh, right, it's only racist xenophobia when it's Americans doing it. Your entire argument is that since there are good colleges in the US (and the US has worked hard to build a strong economy) then anyone anywhere should be allowed to buy their way into American citizenship for the price of attending a US university--regardless of the impact to actual American citizens and the US economy.

            • Yes you can attend those universities, you just will have to pay more, similar to higher tuition fees for International students in US, unless you get a scholarship. Do the research, before you ask questions and answer them as well. The US education system has been sustained by steady flow of immigrants; otherwise it will decline before you even blink. Yes, those hardworking students have a right to apply for US citizenship in a same manner, all those European immigrants did during past two centuries. Ever
  • The robust immigration policies of US has been the main reason for its success compared to other developing countries. US has always been the country of immigrants and should avoid the xenophobic policies of other countries like in EU, Australia, Russia.

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