Indian students of US in the soup over getting temporary jobs

Indian students, who are about to complete their Masters in the United States are facing a huge crisis fearing their future over the Optional Practical Training Programme (OPT) that allows international students to temporarily work in the United States once they graduate.

Students completing their course in May and June need to apply for OPT a few days before the completion of the course and once approved they would get 90 days to get into a job or else would lose their visa status. Big concern among these students is whether they would be able to search for a job in the next four to five months in this crisis when jobs will be hard to find as hiring will be little.

“With lakhs of jobs at stake due to the impending economic slowdown with the epidemic where will we find new jobs,” said a student from Michigan State University (MSU).

A consultant from Telugu states, who generally place such students, too is worried.

“When lay offs are expected how can we get them jobs. Even we will be suffering out of this,” he said.

A ray of hope, however for them is the educators in the USA urging the US government not to consider the unemployment period in the COVID-19 emergency period under the OPT limits.

The Association of International Educators wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) asking the authorities to give this concession to the foreign students on US campuses.

It also requested the DHS and the Government too publish a notice pf “Special Student Relief” in the Federal Register as was done earlier to help the Nepali students affected by a massive earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

Similar concession was given to students from Libya and Syria affected by civil unrest in their countries in 2011.

Indian and Chinese students form the biggest ethnic groups on US campuses and Indian students, particularly aim at the IT jobs that are plenty in number and manage to get a job on OPT.

Educators in India look at a bigger picture than just the OPT and advise the students not to worry over it much as of now. The US government is likely to give several concessions to OPT students once it overcomes the epidemic and there will be several legal protections as well.

Narsi Gayam, an educator with keen interest in US education says the world will change drastically and the thinking dramatically in a few months when it successfully overcomes the present challenge thrown up by coronavirus.

“The geo, political, economical and technological thinking will go through a huge churn and no one can predict on what lines the world will function,” he says adding that OPT is a small issue in a new world. “So students need not break their heads over it now.”

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 2:05:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/indian-students-of-us-in-the-soup-over-getting-temporary-jobs/article31186803.ece

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