More foreign students than ever before are finding in work in the United States on completion of their study, new research shows.
The study by Pew Research Centre in Washington shows that 172,000 foreign nationals who went to college or university in the US got a job through the Optional Practical Training program. This compared to just 45,000 in 2004.
Participation in the program surged after President George W Bush and then President Barack Obama extended the length of stay for science, technology, engineering and maths majors.
Indians were the largest group among the nearly 1.5 million foreign graduate students of the US colleges and universities who got authorisation to remain and work in America between 2004 and 2016. China and South Kore were the next two largest source countries for workers.
According to Neil Ruiz, a co-author of the report, the program has been key in attracting foreign students to study in America and keep them there after they graduate.
“The OPT programme has grown to become the primary way the US has retained foreign students graduating with STEM degrees from its colleges and universities,” Ruiz said. “Foreign students obtaining authorisation to remain and work in the US after graduation come from all corners of the globe, and major metro areas in the US tend to attract them in large numbers,” he added.
US universities have the largest foreign student population in the world.
However, the number of foreign students in the United States is starting to fall. Figures from the Institute of International Education show that the number of new college students coming to the US from overseas has fallen by 7 per cent since Donald Trump was elected president.
Article published 11th May 2018