H-1B Alternative OPT Grows 400% in Eight Years
US: Almost 1.5 million international graduates obtained authorisation to stay back and work in the US through the Optional Practical Training programme between 2004 and 2016, with nearly three-quarters (74%) coming from Asia, a report by Pew Research Center says. The OPT programme has grown 400% since 2008. An extension of an international student’s visa, OPT lets graduates to work in an area related to their study for 12 months or longer if they have a STEM degree.
The 400% increase began in 2008, when the number of months STEM degree holders could work in the US under the OPT programme was raised from 12 to 29, and then to 36 in 2016. Most of the graduates on OPT programmes were Asian. Graduates from India made up the largest share with 441,400 permit holders (30% of the total), while students from China came second at 313,500 (21%), followed by South Koreans at 90,800 (6%).
(Indebted to various sources)