The Optional Practical Training Program for F-1 students (OPT) is not illegal. A federal judge has ruled for a situation brought by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (Washtech). An association representing workers in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.
Criticism of OPT; Increased Scrutiny
Despite proof that OPT is useful for the economy and doesn’t restrict job opportunities for U.S. workers. Opponents have questioned the program for years. In 2012, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine whether the program may subvert U.S. workers.
Additionally, the Trump government has discussed changing the OPT program since 2017. When another proposed rule “planned to reduce fraud and abuse” appeared on the 2017 DHS Regulatory Agenda. While no large-scale reforms have materialized. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased scrutiny of the programs, announcing increased compliance inspections at worksites and talking about targeting Designated Student Officials (DSOs) at universities who approve OPT.
Optional Practical Training Program for F-1 students | Litigation
Washtech has battled OPT through litigation since 2014 in the federal district court for the District of D.C. Also, washtech requested to have OPT declared illegal. DHS has been in the situation of defending a program that the Administration didn’t favor.
In 2019, intervenors joined the case to vivaciously defend the program. The intervenors included the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, and the Information Technology Industry Council. Amicus briefs also were filed in favor of OPT by public and private colleges and universities.
Also, Check [January 2021 Visa Bulletin]
On November 30, 2020, Judge Reggie B. Walton denied Washtech’s claim that OPT was unlawful. He is expected to give a full memorandum and decision by the end of January 2021. Since the November 30 decision is not a final order, it isn’t yet subject to appeal. This implies that OPT likely will outlive the current Administration. Immigration advocates are hopeful.
OPT draws students from everywhere in the world to American colleges and universities. Given that these organizations recently have seen a 43% drop in foreign student enlistment. Judge Walton’s decision couldn’t be all the more convenient.