Starting May 10, international students in the U.S. will gain a few extra months to find a job in the country. The federal government will allow students in STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to stay in the U.S. for up to three years after graduation while searching for a job in their fields of study. Previous to this law, STEM graduated had up to 29 month to find jobs. The Optional Practical Training program allows roughly 560,000 foreign students to temporarily work in STEM related fields during their studies and after graduation.
By extending the timeline, foreign students gain more chances to apply for the annual H-1B high-skilled visa lottery. This immigration program provides permanent residence for people specialized in various occupational fields and is one of the most popular immigration paths in the U.S.
In 2008, a study from Harvard Business School found that H-1B visa winners have made a significant contribution to the number of inventions in the U.S., based on the amount of new patents. Similar, a 2009 report showed that international STEM graduates gave between $2.7 and $3.6 billion in taxes and could add about $13.6 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.
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