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Pew Analysis: Metro Phoenix Hosted Thousands Of Foreign Graduates In Temporary Work Program

In recent years, roughly 7,400 foreign students from Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University and the University of Arizona worked temporary jobs in the Valley after graduation, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

The Optional Practical Training program lets foreign students work temporarily in the U.S. in jobs directly related to their major.

The Pew analysis of data from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement found that between 2004 and 2016 slightly more than half of foreign students stayed in metro Phoenix after graduation to work.

Metro Phoenix also drew 5,600 foreign graduates of U.S. schools in other places for temporary jobs. Tucson was the top city where they studied.

Most of the foreign graduates were from India and China, and most had earned a master’s degree. Engineering was their top field of study, followed by business and computer sciences.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.