If you haven’t yet declared your major, and if your goal is to stay and work in the U.S. after graduation, consider a STEM major. In 2016, new legislation was introduced giving certain STEM majors up to 36 months of OPT (Optional Practical Training). OPT allows international students to work in the U.S after graduation. The new 36-month rule provides international STEM workers with more chances of participating in the annual H-1B lottery. Which is great news for U.S. employers, because they normally rely on the H-1B visa to keep international workers on payroll after OPT.
2. Leverage what’s available today.
A new U.S. Department of Homeland rule that was passed in November 2016 just went into effect earlier this month. The rule makes it easier for U.S. employers to retain international talent for the long term, while also giving many international high-skilled workers greater stability and job flexibility. If you’re a former international student waiting in line for a green card, you have reasons to celebrate.
3. Understand employer mentality.
Given the benefits that come from the new three years of OPT for STEM graduates, some employers may only consider international students who have multiple shots at securing an H-1B visa. MBAs, for example, often only have one shot. A STEM graduate may have three. That’s a big difference.