Submitted by: Jane W. Goldblum & Karen Pollins, Goldblum & Pollins
On April 12, 2018, immigration advocates stomped on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to put politics aside and pass sensible immigration laws. My Employment-Based Immigration Firm urged our representatives to consider the damage being done to our country by the self-destructive message given by the Administration to foreign students: We don’t care if you come and we don’t care if you stay.
As immigration counsel to over 20 universities, we can validate the importance of foreign students to our institutions of higher education. The following unwelcoming laws and policies indicate why foreign students may not be coming; and, for those who come, why they might not be staying:
Difficulty Getting F-1 student visa: The law requires all F-1 applicants to have an intent to return home after obtaining their degree. An increasing number are being denied a visa for lacking such intent. This Administration is barring applicants from certain Moslem countries from applying, resulting in a drop in applications from all Moslem countries.
Threat to STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extensions: Currently, STEM graduates can pursue 36 months of OPT, enough time for most with ‘hard to find’ skills to pursue permanent residency before their OPT expires, bypassing the increasingly elusive and costly H-1B process. But, this Administration intends to either eliminate the STEM OPT extension or restrict it in undisclosed ways.
Dearth of H-1B Visas for STEM Graduates: During this April’s H-1B “lottery” season, STEM graduates—even those with multiple job offers at great s