The Obama administration is working on multiple tracks in their effort to use immigration policy to undermine American workers. The administration is preparing to make it easier for the technology industry to utilize cheap, foreign labor for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs rather than hire American graduates. Under the proposed rule, which would take effect in February 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would allow foreign STEM degree-holders to remain in the country and work on their student visas for up to three years after they graduate. The proposed rule involves extending the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program—a DHS creation to keep foreign “students” in the country—from 12 months after graduation to 36 months for those in the STEM field.
If implemented, the rule would actually encourage employers to bypass American STEM workers in favor of these foreign workers. In addition to further flooding the STEM labor market with addition foreign workers, the rule would:
- Save companies about $10,000 a year for each of the three years they employ OPTs. Because these workers would technically be considered “students,” employers would not be required to pay payroll taxes for these employees.
- Allow companies to hire workers who do not have the same rights to unionize or freely move from employer to employer as American workers.
By law, DHS must accept public comments on the proposed regulation and respond to them before implementing the change. This is the American public’s opportunity to make its voice heard. If there’s enough opposition, DHS might revoke the proposed rule and never implement it. The deadline for submitting comments is November 18. Comments can by submitted here.