The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced it is expanding the list of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) designated degree programs that will qualify graduates in the US on student visas for optional practical training (OPT) extensions. Under the OPT program, international students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities may remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to one year. Students who graduate from a designated STEM degree program are able to remain in the U.S. for an additional 17 months via an OPT STEM extension.
"Attracting the best and brightest international talent to our colleges and universities and enabling them to contribute to their professional growth is an important part of our nation's economic, scientific and technological competitiveness," said Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security. "International students and exchange visitors bring invaluable contributions to our nation, and this helps empower the next generation of international entrepreneurs, right here in America."
The list of designated STEM degree programs has been expanded to include such fields as pharmaceutical sciences, econometrics and quantitative economics to help the U.S. bring in and recruit the best international students to the country.