A United States district court overturned a long-pending lawsuit demanding the withdrawal of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. Which allows foreign students to lawfully work in the nation for a fixed period of time after they graduate.
The claim, filed by the Washington Alliance of Tech Workers (WashTech), argued that the program was unlawful and was removing jobs from American tech workers.
Under the OPT program, foreign students can work for a year after graduating. With students graduating in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects getting an extra two years.
On Monday, Judge Reggie B Walton of the US district court of Columbia denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.
The suit had been filed against the US Department of Homeland Security. In 2019, the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Information Technology Industry Council had intervened to secure the rights of international students, arguing that the OPT program permitted American organizations to recruit skilled graduates, benefiting the US economy.
As indicated by the 2020 Open Doors report, there were more than 223,500 students on an OPT in the US in 2019-20. There was a sum of 1,075,496 international students in the nation, of which 18% came from India. Also, a few students on a STEM OPT to proceed to be recruited on an H-1B visa by tech organizations. This is somewhat why certain worker bodies have been against the OPT program.
WashTech had first filed a lawsuit challenging this program back in 2014 which was later excused by a US district court in 2016. After that, another claim had been filed in 2017 challenging the 2016 STEM OPT rule. More than 100 universities had then filed an amicus brief supporting the OPT program.
A last written decision on the order will be issued within 60 days, said the court.