Visa Expansion for Student Immigrants in the Works

Among the millions of undocumented immigrants affected by Obama’s Executive Action on immigration reform, which was announced on November 2014, college students may now receive better opportunities for education, such as cheaper tuition, increased aid, and longer stays in the United States after graduating.

The measures proposed by Obama include plans for the expansion of the federal Optional Practical Training program, which permits foreign students to work and stay in the U.S. for a period of time, and the extension of visa lengths for STEM students – that is, students in science, technology, engineering and math (computer and information sciences were added back in 2012).

It’s not clear exactly what changes will be implemented and how, but Obama has issued directives to the Department of Homeland Security concerning visa programs for students.

Supporters of the new immigration measures cite the country’s “brain drain” in recent years as evidence that Obama’s reforms will be beneficial to the country. Foreign students who receive work training and academic degrees, especially those in high-demand STEM fields, could make significant contributions to the U.S. economy if only they were allowed to stay in the country for longer periods of time.

The managing director of United We Dream, an immigrant youth organization, believes that Obama’s Executive Action represents a huge step for the immigrant community in the U.S. However, she believes that the parents of so-called Dreamers and other hard-working immigrants who do not qualify should also receive protection.

If you are a foreign student looking to legally secure your stay in the U.S., please contact Peek & Toland, PLLC for help with all of your immigration needs. You can schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated Austin immigration law attorneys by calling (512) 474-4445.

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