President Trump Curbs ‘OPT’ Outsourcing of College Jobs

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The federal government provided work permits to 537,000 foreign college graduates in 2019, so forcing American graduates to compete for decent jobs against migrants who gladly accept low wages and long hours in exchange for getting green cards from their employers.

But the good news for American graduates is that the giveaway had slowed under President Donald Trump, even before the coronavirus disease reduced the inflow of foreign students.

The data on the Practical Training work permits was released by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency works with the nation’s universities to award the work permits to the tuition-paying foreigners.

Under Trump, the number of confirmed job transfers shrank from 337,000 in 2017 to 314,000 in 2019, after a huge jump of 43,000 in President Barack Obama’s final year.

The giveaway program was largely created by President George W. Bush and Barack Obama, at the request of Microsoft and other tech companies — without any approval from Congress.

The postgraduate “Optional Practical Training” (OPT) program filled 24,000 jobs in 2007, Bush’s second-to-last year. Ten years later, it had grown by 650 percent, to fill roughly 180,000 jobs in 2017.

The pre-graduation work permit program, dubbed “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT), rose 132 percent under Bush and Obama, from 57,000 filled jobs in 2007 to 132,000 filled jobs in 2017.

“You can’t turn around an aircraft-carrier all at once,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, adding:

The fact that the number of [CPT and OPT] jobs isn’t growing rapidly — maybe declined a little bit, maybe rose a little — is an important first step. The question is: What happens in the next few years? Will that trend continue or will it be just a blip? It could be either way, but at least it is a hopeful sign.

But those numbers understate the number of outsourced jobs because they only include the number of work permit holders who confirmed their job offers to the ICE agency. Overall, the agency handed out 488,000 work permits in 2017, and 536,000 permits in 2019, marking a ten percent increase over Trump’s three years.

Also, the numbers also understate the total job loss because Bush expanded the one-year OPT work permits to three years for the people with science and technology degrees named in an expanding, agency-approved list. In 2019, 135,960 held these three-year STEM-OPT work permits, up from just two people in 2007. That 2019 workforce included 78,000 Indian and 30,000 Chinese STEM-OPT workers.

Those are huge numbers compared to the 800,000 Americans who graduate from four-year colleges with skilled degrees in business, healthcare, engineering, science, computer, and architecture.

In July, amid the coronavirus crash, President Donald Trump’s deputies announced they would reduce the number of foreigners who would get work permits in 2020. But that move was reversed amid a barrage of protests by Fortune 500 companies, by the establishment media, and by the universities, which earn roughly $40 billion a year from the inflow of foreigners seeking the work permits.

In June, however, Trump blocked the arrival of new H-1B visa workers and directed his deputies to rewrite the regulations to reduce the displacement of American graduates.

Many of the foreign OPT and CPT workers who get degrees at elite universities use their work permits to snag career-making opportunities from co-ethnic hiring managers in prestigious firms, such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. For example, Intel has hired 6,591 foreign graduates since 2003, and Amazon has hired 12,173 foreign graduates with the work permits since 2003.

Since 2003, Amazon has also hired 9,302 pre-graduate CPT workers, while Intel has hired 6,453 CPT workers, so helping to completely change the demographics of the company’s workforce.

Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. The newspaper provides very little coverage of the Bezos work permit programs.

Many of the foreigners take entry-level jobs at Fortune 500 subcontractors. Many of these subcontractors prefer to hire the CPT and OPT work permit workers over American graduates because they can be paid below the minimum wage and do not need to be paid for 150 days because they are legally classified as trainees. Also, employers do not have to pay Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes when they hire the work permit workers.

Moreover, the work permit workers will likely remain with their employers and will comply with executives’ directions because they need their employers to help them get the huge prize of green cards. Also, the work permit workers are unlikely to protest when their foreign-born managers violate U.S. anti-discrimination, hiring, and corruption laws.

The inflow of foreign workers has helped to suppress salaries for a wide variety of U.S. white-collar workers.

For many migrants, the long route to winning a green card usually starts with getting a work permit and then being nominated for one of the 85,000 H-1B visas given annually to foreign employees of U.S. firms.

At least 900,000 Indian and Chinese workers are working in this “Green Card Economy,” so giving the executives at Fortune 500 more economic clout over American professionals, more control of the technology sector, and more incentives to create new jobs in the coastal states.

An additional number of Indian and Chinese graduates work illegally — often for Fortune 500 subcontractors — after their visas expire.

The huge inflow of Indian workers — perhaps as many as one million — into the OPT, CPT, and H-1B programs has generated at least $80 billion in annual revenues for the U.S. and Indian staffing companies who provide much of the workforce for the U.S.-India Ooutourcing Economy.

That outsourcing economy helps India’s government to export its many college graduates via a complex trade that delivers cheap white-collar labor to the Fortune 500 in exchange for delivering jobs, revenue, and remittances back to India and its workers.

In turn, the revenue is used by the Indian government and Indian companies to buy fuel, wheat, weapons, and technology from a wide variety of American firms.


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