WE Global webinar highlights new research on importance of high-skilled immigrant talent
By Steve Tobocman
The number of international students working in the U.S. after graduation through the Optional Practical Training (OPT) portion of their student visa has grown more than 300% in the last 12 years, surpassing the annual number of H-1B visas issued to private sector employers. The nature and impact of these two sources of high-skilled talent were the subject of WE Global’s July 24 webinar with Neil Ruiz, Associate Director of Global Migration and Demography at the Pew Research Center.
Attended by some 60 WE Global members, nonprofit organizations, workforce development agencies, chambers of commerce, national advocacy organizations, universities, researchers, and economic development leaders, the webinar is now available on the WE Global website here.
While the Trump Administration has begun to implement rules that impact both the OPT and H-1B programs, especially for third-party staffing firms, the Pew research documents that these programs have helped American companies compete by providing hundreds of thousands of workers every year in fields where labor demands are high. Salaries for these workers are largely competitive for these fields. And while national debates on immigration policy rage on, the Pew research highlights that companies across the Midwest and nation are finding new ways to meet unmet talent needs by engaging international students and using the H-1B visa program.
There are now more international students entering the U.S. workforce on any given year through the OPT program than H-1B skilled immigrant workers.