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DHS Moves to Expand Program Incentivizing Hiring Foreign Students

Caroline May reports: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is proposing an expansion to a program that allows foreign students with science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degrees to work in the U.S.

The changes were first announced in conjunction with President Obama’s executive actions on immigration reform in November and aims to increase the amount of time under the Optional Practical Training program that foreign students may work in the U.S.

The OPT program allows foreign students in certain fields to extend their stay in the U.S. by working to attain “practical training.” The rule up for consideration, would allow hundreds of thousands of foreigners in the STEM fields to work in the U.S. via the OPT program for three years, expanding the program from the current 29 months to 36 months.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart]

Critics of the proposal point out that the students are likely to end up being less expensive than American workers and increase the already stiff competition for STEM jobs among Americans with STEM degrees looking for work or Americans with such degrees employed in non-STEM fields.

Center for Immigration Studies expert David North highlights, for example, that since DHS defines these foreign workers under this program as “students” they are largely not required to pay social security and Medicare taxes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chinese Undergrads Help Set New Record

NYU-Grads

Last year, 274,439 Chinese students came to the U.S. to study, a 16.5% increase over the year before and nearly one third of the total international population

Douglas Belkin reports: Another wave of Chinese undergraduates pushed the number of international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities up 8% last year to a new all-time high of nearly 900,000, according to a new report.

“The fastest growing international student populations in the U.S. were from Kuwait, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia, all countries whose governments are investing heavily in scholarships.”

But massive Chinese investment in that nation’s domestic universities, a flattening in the number of Chinese graduate students coming to the U.S. and the return to China of thousands of U.S.-trained Ph.D.s may portend a disruption in what has become a critical asset to U.S. university balance sheets.

“The majority of U.S. students study abroad for less than eight weeks, according to the report. The majority of international students who come to the U.S. to study come for either one or four years.”

“China as a country has seen a much faster expansion of its own higher education sector establishing many world class universities,” said Rajikla Bhandari, deputy vice president for research and evaluation at the Institute for International Education, which released its “Open Doors” report on Monday. They are ”successfully retaining some of the Chinese students who might have otherwise gone overseas.” Read the rest of this entry »