The Trump Administration Weighing Rollback of Optional Practical Training (OPT) Program

Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. in F-1 student status are often eligible to engage in employment after completing their academic program in what is referred to as Optional Practical Training (OPT). As a result of the current high unemployment rate in the U.S., the Trump Administration is currently reviewing the F-1 OPT program, and is considering taking action to suspend or limit the program until U.S. unemployment has declined. Within President Trump’s April 22, 2020 proclamation, there was a provision that tasked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Labor to review nonimmigrant visa programs and recommend certain measures be taken to possibly suspenSuspending or limiting the F-1 OPT program would likely have a negative impact on the U.S. It would weaken its competitiveness and hinder economic recovery. Foreign nationals who participate in the F-1 OPT program bring skills and talent that are desperately needed, and that the U.S. labor force is unable to provide. In addition, suspending or limiting the F-1 OPT program would result in other countries benefiting from the education provided to these F-1 students by U.S. colleges and universities, and in some cases, may result in these foreign nationals and the overseas companies they may work for to compete against the U.S. and its interests.