Law360 is usually a reliable news organization, but joined a general media failure last week: in a long article on the optional internship program (OPT) (mostly behind a paywall), it was impossible to deny that this program was designed for foreign alumni US colleges receive an annual grant of approximately $ 2 billion from America is sick and older.
A key feature of OPT – referred to by Law360 as a "visa extension" – is the totally artificial definition of the Foreigners Alumni as "students" while citizens (and green card) alumni of the same organization are considered normal workers. This definition frees foreigners, and especially their employers, from the normal payroll taxes that most of us have paid their entire lives. The Citizen Alumni and their employers do not receive such a tax concession.
It is estimated that the Medicare, Social Security and Unemployment Insurance Trust Funds will lose at least $ 2 billion annually. It rewards employers who prefer foreign university graduates to citizens.
Instead of simply discussing the subsidy program that was the subject of a long-standing federal court case against our colleague John Miano, Law360 was about the alleged lack of high-tech workers in the US. Law360's article avoided mentioning that OPT (according to H-1B) is the second largest foreign workers' program in the US and operates without any hint of labor standards.
We have previously noted that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal cover the OPT subsidies in the same way, without mentioning them.
There is no direct congressional approval for the program. It was launched by the Bush II government, expanded by the Obama administration and previously protected by the Trump government. It grants all foreign university graduates one full year of tax deductions for payroll and three years for foreign alumni who can claim a degree in one of the areas of MINT (Science, Engineering, Engineering and Mathematics).