Please cosponsor H.R. 3564 to end the OPT program.

The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program gives businesses a financial incentive to hire foreign college graduates instead of American and legal immigrant graduates. Employers do not have to pay payroll taxes and the OPT employees do not have to pay FICA withholding, making these employees significantly less expensive to hire. The OPT program is responsible for the inability of most American STEM graduates to find jobs in STEM fields — fewer than 50% of STEM graduates are finding STEM jobs. Moreover, the FICA fund loses out on $2 billion each year due to OPT and CPT.

It makes no sense to give foreign STEM graduates of U.S. universities a 36-month visa when fewer than half of American and legal immigrant STEM graduates can find STEM jobs. Each year, businesses hire approximately 250,000 foreign workers under the OPT program. Over the previous 10 years, approximately 2.5 million U.S. and legal immigrant STEM graduates have missed out on STEM jobs because the U.S. government makes it cheaper to hire foreign STEM graduates.

American and legal immigrant STEM graduates need a level playing field. I hope you will cosponsor H.R. 3564, the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act, to end the OPT program and help STEM graduates get to work.

Greg Raven, Apple Valley, CA