On Friday The United States Federal government announced changes to visa rules for International Students. The changes would mean that international students with applicable qualifications in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, are now eligible to stay for three year after finishing their degrees to be prepared for potential entry into the US workforce.

This is part of an “Optional Practical Training Program” that extends the stay of international university graduates by 7 months and it comes into effect in May 10, 2016.

Under the old rules, students had to apply for the H-1B Visa which was given by lottery and was capped at 65,000 students.

Considering that immigration is currently a hot topic in the US which is facing an election year, the extension drew both support and criticism from parties concerned about competition for jobs with American workers.


The new rules stipulate that an “OPT” student will not replace a full time-part time, temporary or permanent US worker and that the salary offered would be “commensurate” to American workers.