American Colleges and Universities are “fast tracking” foreign students into thousands of professional jobs being sought by American graduates.
Breitbart reports that in 2016, the universities worked with companies to get at least 147,498 foreign student customers into the white-collar jobs, according to the Institute of International Education, a New York-based group run by trustees from industry, education and Wall Street.
This is accomplished through a little known program called the Optional Practical Training program, which allows foreigners to get professional-grade jobs inside the United States for at least three years. The OPT outsourcing program is great for the foreign students because it gets them a U.S. job for three years and puts them on a track to win extremely valuable Green Cards and citizenship. It is great for employers because many OPT employees work for low salaries in the hope of eventually getting Green Cards — and also because the OPT employees are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes, unlike American employees.
The OPT program may be great for employers and foreign students but it’s not helping American students who are being closed out of more than 100,000 jobs. They also face increased lifetime competition from imported, lower-wage foreign professionals, as well as the fact they are graduating with massive student loan debt.
The OPT program began in 1979 with only 2,840 OPT workers. It climbed to 7,712 jobs in 1989, to 25,857 jobs in 1999, to 66,601 jobs in 2009, and to 147,498 jobs in 2016, according to the Institute of International Education.
It grew by 11,000 jobs from 2013 to 2014, by almost 15,000 jobs from 2014 to 2015, and by 27,211 jobs from 2015 to 2016. That figure went up 22.6 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Joseph Palos, a high-tech graduate from Cornell University, formally objected to the OPT program in 2015. ”Companies don’t want to hire Americans and they abuse… OPT to hire cheap immobile labor instead of hiring anyone over the age of 35, especially in software or tech areas,” he wrote to a federal agency, according to a report in ComputerWorld,
— Dave Gorak (@lessimmigration) November 30, 2016
President elect Donald Trump is aware of this issue and has brought the subject up during his campaign.
“I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program,” he said in a March 2016 statement. “No exceptions,” he added.
The H-1B visa program gives U.S. white-collar jobs to roughly 650,000 foreign graduates, and the L-1 visa program is being used by a few hundred thousand foreign white-collar graduates to work in the United States. Overall, the population of foreign college graduates working in the United States exceeds 1 million — and exceeds the annual number of young Americans who graduate with four-year degrees in technology, business or healthcare.
The H-1B jobs are mostly in the information technology business, but they also include many prestigious jobs in accounting, engineering, academia, government agencies, and in healthcare, both on the coasts and in the heartland of the country. Many universities, include Rice University, have hired roughly 100,000 foreign graduates via the H-1B visa program as low-salary professors, doctors, therapists, and scientists.
Breibart reported that on Jan. 17, three days before he leaves office, Obama is expected to release a set of regulations that will further expand the H-1B program.
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