The announcement by CIS yesterday that they have exceeded the 20,000 US Master’s Degree holders for new H-1Bs was probably a big blow to many of us, because this is the first year that this has happened. Last year numbers were available until late April. Thus there will be a lottery for the US Master’s Degree holders, and those that do not get in, will have their name put into the general category and have a second chance at the lottery. Yes, they also exceeded the 65K general quota.
While our Congress is determined to NOT pass any immigration legislation, the CIS has been trying to dangle a carrot (or should I say a poisoned apple) before the US Master’s Degree holders’ noses. Their OPT will be extended from 12 to a maximum of 29 months, provided the following condition precedents are met:
- Currently be participating in a 12-month period of approved post-completion OPT;
- Have successfully completed a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). Therefore if you have a BS- (even in say for example fine arts), you will be covered. But for the liberal arts majors, there is no hope. The Bush govt never patronized the arts anyways.
- Be working for, or accepted employment with, an employer enrolled in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify program. E-Verify is a free, internet-based system operated in partnership with the Social Security Administration that helps employers to determine the employment eligibility of newly-hired employees;
This interim rule is effective April 08, 2008. CIS will accept comment until June 09, 2008 and thereafter issue the final rule.
Though this looks very promising, this is also a veiled attempt to get employers to enroll in the Bush Government E verify program. This program is voluntary still and attempts to make it mandatory has failed several court challenges. The reason behind this is that the E verify program is flawed, and result in discrimination against US Citizens of non white colors.
Under the 14th amendment of our Constitution the Government must give due process before curbing the rights of “any person” present in the United States in terms of their LIFE, LIBERTY AND PROPERTY. A US Master’s Degree is a property right. The Government is denying the property right to work for graduates who are majoring in Business, Humanities, Arts, and Law. (Does Medicine fall under Technology?) These people are not STEMS, they are the seed to our economic development.
But then the Bush Government NEVER cared about the Constitution anyways!!!
A far better way to bridge the status gap issue of the OPT students would be to extend their status and enable them to work is simply to make the entire OPT system last for 29 months, no questions asked, for US Master’s Degree Holders. Just ask any University how hard they have to try to get Master’s Degree candidates in the first place!