Yale stands up for workplace training for international students

Yale University has joined forces with more than 100 other colleges and universities to bolster the legal defense of a pair of federal programs allowing international students in the United States to gain practical workplace training.

On Nov. 21, the schools filed a joint legal brief supporting the programs, arguing that they help make the United States an attractive place for international students. Weakening or abandoning them will make it harder to attract talented students from abroad, harming students, higher education and the U.S. economy, the universities said.

The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and NAFSA: Association of International Educators coordinated the schools’ amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief, filed in federal court in Washington. The related litigation is Washington Alliance of Technology Workers Union v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The technology workers’ alliance challenges the training programs’ legality.

The programs — Optional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT — allow international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities on F-1 visas to work temporarily for a U.S. employer in a position directly related to their studies. Hundreds of thousands of international students and graduates participate in them annually.

A longstanding, signal strength of America’s great research universities is their distinct ability to welcome and nurture gifted individuals from around the world in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “This power to convene exceptional people to catalyze transformative advances in society and enable innovation across sectors has made our system of higher education the envy of the world. Universities fuel our economy, ensure our security, and improve our lives. That is why Yale supports flexibility in U.S. immigration policy, as reflected in the Optional Practical Training program, which encourages international students to find employment and contribute further to the competitiveness of the U.S. economy.”

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-432-1326