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US lawmakers introduce bill to eliminate programme allowing foreign students to stay after studies

A group of US lawmakers has reintroduced legislation in the House of Representatives to eliminate a programme which allows foreign students to stay in the country for work after the completion of their studies under certain conditions.

Congressman Paul A Gosar along with Congressman Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs and Matt Gaetz introduced the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act, a legislation that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act on the Optional Practice Training (OPT).

“What country creates a programme, but not a law, that rewards its businesses to fire citizen workers and replace them with foreign labour to pay the foreign labour less? The United States. The programme is called OPT and it reflects a complete abandonment of our own workers,” Paul A Gosar said.

READ: Indians moving to Canada due to outdated H-1B visa policy, US lawmakers told

He first introduced the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act in the 116th Congress, and has twice signed amicus briefs in support of American workers in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to eliminate the OPT.

The OPT is a guest worker programme administered by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Gosar alleges that the OPT circumvents the H-1B cap by allowing over 100,000 aliens admitted as foreign students to work for up to three years in the US after graduation.

These foreign workers are exempt from payroll taxes, making them at least 10-15 per cent cheaper than a comparable American worker, he argued.

“Landing that first job outside of college will only become more difficult for young Americans as our universities formalise the role they play in crowding out opportunities once reserved for American graduates. For this reason, the OPT must be eliminated,” stated Kevin Lynn, Founder of US Techworkers.

The OPT openly undercuts American workers, particularly higher-skilled workers and recent college graduates, by giving employers an actual tax incentive to hire compliant, inexpensive foreign labour under the guise of “student training,” said Rosemary Jenks, Director of Government Relations, NumbersUSA.

READ: 94% Indian students say they are more eager to study abroad in 2021 than in 2020: Study

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