Uncertainty is mounting for foreign students studying at US universities in the wake of the 2020 suspension of H-1B visas.
Typically students complete their educations on the F-1 visa, then apply for the Optional Practical Training program where F-1 students can work in their field in the US for a year after graduation (or three years if they take a STEM-related job). Then they can enter the lottery for the H-1B visa and a chance to stay longer.
But the Trump administration has come down on the F-1 and H-1B visas as well as the OPT program, claiming that they take jobs from American residents. The result has been great uncertainty for international workers who thought their chance at working in the US was relatively protected.
A more secure way to stay in the US is for students’ families to apply for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, which grants family members (including students) a green card to achieve permanent residency. The family or student makes a one-time investment of $900,000 in a new US business that creates jobs for at least 10 US workers who are not family members. The program allows students to pursue jobs of their choice after graduation, instead of restricting them to jobs in their field.
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