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Foreign student job program being abused and mismanaged, critics say

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FILE: Sen. Charles Grassley speaks on Capitol Hill.AP

A fast-growing foreign-student work program is taking jobs from U.S. citizens, while its “alarming mismanagement” poses a national security threat, critics charge.

“Foreign students, sometimes aided by school officials, are currently abusing the Optional Practical Training program to acquire unauthorized employment in the United States,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, citing a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

“The federal government does not know where tens of thousands of foreign students in the OPT program are located, who they are working for, or what they are doing while in the United States,” the Iowa Republican said.

OPT enables some 560,000 foreign students to obtain temporary work in their major area of study during and after completing academic programs here.

Grassley requested the GAO investigation amid complaints of employers hiring foreign students and passing over American citizens.

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