11/5/15 Jobs for Grads

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There’s great news if you’re a recent college grad and you’re looking for work.  Washington has a program that provides a financial incentive for employers to hire you.

But only if you’re a foreigner.  U.S. citizens need not apply.

It’s called the Optional Practical Training Program.  Foreigners who graduate from a U.S. college in science, technology, engineering or math will be given a 12-month visa to remain in the U.S. after landing a job.  Which shouldn’t be too difficult since the Department of Homeland Security provides an incentive for employers to hire these foreign workers.  This visa can be extended for an additional 17 months.  But a proposed rule change will bump that extension to 24 months for a total of three years.

Under the rule change, a foreign student can get an undergrad degree, work for three years, return to school for a masters, and then work another three years.   Pretty sweet, huh?

And the financial incentive?  Here’s how it works.

Even though these are college graduates, DHS designates them as foreign students. Foreign students don’t pay payroll taxes. And neither does the employer.  The employer is exempt from paying the 6.2% Social Security and 1.45% Medicare taxes.  That nearly 8 percent difference means an employer can save money by hiring a foreigner over an American.

According to DHS, there are 34,000 foreigners currently in the OPT program.  And hundreds of thousands more who are eligible.

[In 2013, there were 886,052 foreign students affiliated with U.S. colleges and universities.]

Meanwhile, a record number of Americans are out of work.

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