The Biden administration has expanded the types of degrees that can qualify international students for a three-year work permit after graduation in an effort to increase US competitiveness in math and science. science.

The Department of Homeland Security has added 22 new degree programs to its list of fields that allow graduates to work for up to three years in the United States as part of the optional practical training program. Additional degrees added on Friday include forestry, climate science, data science, financial analysis and some social sciences.

Under the OPT, international students who graduate from US universities can stay and work in the United States for one year after graduation, after which they will need to apply for a work visa. While some may have country-specific visas, many graduates find themselves vying for a coveted spot in an annual lottery for just 85,000 H-1B Skilled Occupation Visas.

However, those who earn science, math, engineering, or technology degrees can extend these work permits for an additional two years, giving them more time to work in the United States and a better chance of getting a visa at home. H-1B lottery.

“STEM innovation allows us to solve the complex challenges we face today and make a difference in how we secure and protect our country,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. communicated. “Through STEM education and training opportunities, DHS is increasing the number and diversity of students who excel in STEM education and contribute to the American economy.”