Proposed Changes to Specialized Work Visas Could Help Foreign Students

Engineering School/Case Western Reserve University
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A renewed bipartisan pass at immigration reform could make it easier for some foreign students to find work in the United States. The bill would change the requirements for the H1-B visas that allow American companies to hire foreign workers with specialized knowledge.

Right now, the visas are awarded by lottery. But the new legislation, sponsored by Republican senator Chuck Grassley and Democratic senator Dick Durbin, would give preferences to foreign students already attending school in the United States.

That would help international students at schools like Case Western Reserve University said David Flesher, vice provost of international affairs.

 “One of the programs that international students can use is something called 'optional practical training", in which they can stay in the country and work with specific companies for one to three years. They will clearly be aiding the economy of Northeast Ohio and the country as they go out and do these things,” he said

Flesher says 60 percent of the graduate engineering students at Case come from other countries. The two senators have been pushing the legislation since 2007.

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