International graduates

I've Graduated! What Now?

International Students who graduate from U.S. universities and are educated in the U.S. are facing a visa dilemma when it comes to options after graduating.  Most of the international graduates obtain an Optional Practical Training (OPT), which extends status of stay for 1 year (a 17 additional month is granted for those in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and allowing the international graduates to work in their specialized field.  However, even with the OPT extending their status, they are facing a dilemma of not being able to stay due to lack of H-1B visa “quota” each year.  Brookings Institution made an analysis in 2010 that only 30 percent of international students graduating from U.S. universities received H-1B visas. The rest of the graduates who didn’t qualify have very limited to no choice left but to go back to their home country as far as visa options for professional workers and/or entrepreneurs are concerned.  The biggest argument surrounding this topic is whether the graduates should get an alternative way to help them stay in the U.S. and help the economy grow. One of the main arguments against the idea is that foreign graduates are taking the jobs that should be given to U.S. citizens at a cheaper labor cost. On the other hand, people in favor of helping the graduates believe that, “immigration system forces many of them to leave, sacrificing the innovation and economic growth they would create here.” Stuck in between these arguments are the foreign graduates, living with the uncertainty as they gamble their career based on the H-1B lottery system.