WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) today submitted a public comment to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to its recently proposed rule, "Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students with STEM Degrees and CapGap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students." Under the proposed rule, F-1 visa holders would be allowed to remain and work in the U.S. for up to three years after they have completed their STEM degrees. Currently, the OPT program limits employment of F-1 visa holders to one year.
"The rule serves no legitimate public interest and harms American workers, especially recent graduates with STEM degrees. Instead, the proposed rule only benefits the technology industry's desire for a reliable supply of lower cost labor," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "Allowing foreign graduates to remain here on F-1 visas and be employed for up to three years stretches the definition of 'student' beyond all reasonable bounds."
In its comments, FAIR detailed specific ways in which the propose rule would undermine American STEM workers who compete for jobs in the same fields:
- Because OPT workers are technically "students," employers are not required to pay payroll taxes for these employees. Companies could save about $10,000 a year for each of the three years they employ OPT workers in preference to American workers.
- The OPT extension would vastly increase the supply of labor driving down wages for American workers.
- OPT expansion is a blatant attempt to make an end-run around limits on H-1B visas.
"The OPT program is nothing more than an industry-driven program that allows high tech employers to cut labor costs. Extending OPT eligibility from one to three years, at a time when there is no demonstrable shortage of qualified American STEM workers amounts to a government-sanctioned program to undermine American workers.
"While industry lobbyists are promoting the OPT extension rule for their own narrow interests, FAIR is proud to stand with American workers in opposing approval of this ill-advised rule," concluded Stein.
Click here to view the comment.
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.