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Legislators Urge Chertoff to Extend Optional Practical Training (OPT) to 29 months

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Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is being urged by a group of 19 US Senators, led by Joe Lieberman (I, CT) to extend the maximum period for Optional Practical Training (OPT) to 29 months from its current maximum of 12 months.

“Extending the maximum OPT period to 29 months would be an important first step in addressing the crisis caused by the record shortage of skilled-worker visas……“In Connecticut, and indeed across America, our innovative companies are facing critical shortages of certain highly skilled workers. We must enable our companies to access the talent they need, which ensures that they will keep jobs on our shores and that they will continue to grow in this country,”said Lieberman.

The move is intended to be part of an effort to begin addressing the shortage or workers in IT, engineering and other technical fields caused by the current cap on H-1B visas for skilled workers. This year’s allotment of 65,000 H-1B visas was used up on the first day of filing. In fact, USCIS received more than twice that number of petitions on April 1, 2007, the very first day of the filing period. Read the official press release.

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