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Trump Eyes Restrictions on Foreign Student Work Program

May 26, 2020
 
 

The Trump administration is expected to put in place temporary restrictions on a program that allows international students to stay in the U.S. to work for up to three years after graduating while staying on their student visas, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Administration officials have not yet settled on how to limit the optional practical training program, known as OPT. Proposals include a yearlong suspension with limited exceptions, such as for graduates looking to work in the medical field, or a narrower suspension affecting specific industries.

Trump administration officials say the possible restrictions are intended to help Americans find entry-level work during the economic downturn. They cite a 26 percent unemployment rate among Americans ages 20 to 24.

Supporters of the program say suspending OPT would hurt rather than help the economy by closing off a talent pipeline. Supporters also say any move to restrict OPT would drive down international student enrollments, which have already been declining and are expected to fall further due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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