F-1 Students and Employment
USCIS.gov points out:
F-1 students may not work off-campus during the first academic year but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions.
After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
- Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)
OPT Statistics from Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center (PRC) recently published an article titled “More foreign grads of U.S. colleges are staying in the country to work.” Based on the data from USCIS, the research center concluded that “the federal government approved nearly 700,000 OPT applications in fiscal years 2008 through 2014.”
Below are eight facts about international students on OPT, according to PRC.:
1. Number of OPT Approved Increased Dramatically
“The annual number of OPT approvals rose from 28,497 in fiscal 2008 to 136,617 in fiscal 2014, a nearly fivefold increase.”
2. Numbers of OPT Approved and H-1 B Visa Issued
“From fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2014, 768,214 H-1B visas were awarded, compared with 696,914 OPT approvals.” This shows there was no big difference in the number of OPT approved and the number of H-1 B visa issued during the period of 2008-2014.
PRC found many international students who were on OPT went on to apply for H-1B visas in order to continue working in the U.S.
3. STEM Graduates in Great Demand
STEM graduates made up 49% among those who were approved for OPT. PRC stated that “STEM degrees accounted for six-in-ten of the most numerous majors among OPT approvals, with the remaining four in business-related fields.”
Top three majors for OPT approved during 2012-2015:
- Business Administration and Management (over 37,000 approved)
- Electrical and Electronics Engineering (over 26,000 approved)
- Computer Science (more than 25,000 approved)
To be Continued. Part 2 will be published on June 4, 2017.