OPT or Optional Practical Training is the period during which F1 (Student) Visa holders receive employment authorization to complement their studies. It is directly related to the student’s area of study.
Eligible F1 Visa holders may get up to 12 months of employment authorization under OPT.
There are two different ways to participate in OPT:
If you have obtained a US degree in the STEM fields, you may also apply for a 24-month extension on your OPT.
As per the Institute of International Education, OPT permits have hit a new high in the US in the year 2017-18. Almost 203,462 OPT permits were issued during this period.
H1B holders and OPT participants have virtually helped transform the tech workforce of the Silicon Valley.
There has been a 400% increase in OPT authorizations for STEM graduates since 2008, as per The Columbus Dispatch. The extension on their OPT helps STEM students remain in the US for up to 42 months.
OPT advocates believe that foreign workers contribute immensely to the US workforce. A report by the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project issued in 2017 found that 57% of the tech workers in the San Francisco Bay Area were from outside the US. These techies help fill a critical labor shortage which allows US firms to remain strong and create new jobs.
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