Reforming Optional Practical Training (OPT) to Enhance Technological Progress and Innovation

14 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2022

See all articles by Liya Palagashvili

Liya Palagashvili

George Mason University - Mercatus Center; State University of New York (SUNY) - Purchase College, Department of Economics

Jack Salmon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 2, 2022

Abstract

We propose bolstering the OPT program rather than undermining the United States’ edge in the global race for talent. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), within its statutory authority, should introduce the following reforms to the OPT program:

Increase eligible years of work for non–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (non-STEM) graduates on OPT from one year to three years. Remove employer sponsorship requirements. Allow foreign graduates to work in industries unrelated to their field of study. Eliminate minimum-working-hour requirements for employment authorization. Streamline the I-765 issuance process to ensure that foreign graduates can obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) within three months or less. Exempt OPT participants from the H-1B lottery process if they have acquired at least one year of work experience.

This brief will summarize extant evidence to support this proposal.

Suggested Citation

Palagashvili, Liya and Salmon, Jack, Reforming Optional Practical Training (OPT) to Enhance Technological Progress and Innovation (May 2, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4126381 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4126381

Liya Palagashvili

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

State University of New York (SUNY) - Purchase College, Department of Economics ( email )

735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
United States

Jack Salmon (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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