Indians formed the largest group out of a nearly 1.5 million foreign students graduated out of colleges in US colleges and universities, and got the authorisation to remain and work in US for a period between 2004 and 2016.
The report on government figures compiled by Pew Research Centre revealed Chinese students were the second largest group followed by the South Koreans.
Indian graduates made up for the largest share of around 4, 41, 300 students authorised to work under the Optional Training program (OTP) for the 12-year period accounting for roughly 30 percent, according to the Pew research Center report based on the analytics of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which it obtained through a Freedom and Information Act request.
More than half, (around 56 percent) of the foreign graduates who participated in the OTP between 2004 and 2016 obtained their degree from a public college or university. Students from China came second with 313,500, accounting for 21 percent, followed by South Koreans at 90,800 comprising six percent.
Every four-in-ten students came from private universities and colleges, of which 38 per cent were not-for-profit schools and three per cent were for-profit institutions. Less than three percent of the students enrolled for OTP graduated from institutions not classified by the Carnegie Classification System.
The OTP program is a work authorisation provided by the US government under the F-1 visa program allowing foreign students to be temporarily employed for up to 12 or 36 months in a field that is directly related to their area of study.
More than half of the foreign graduates approved for employment through the OTP specialised in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The number of foreign STEM graduates participating in the OTP grew by 400 percent since the first employment extension for workers in STEM fields was introduced in 2008.
Neil Ruiz, Pew associate director said, "The OTP program has grown to become the primary way the US has retained foreign students graduating with STEM degrees from its colleges and universities. Foreign students obtaining authorisation to remain and work in the US after graduation come from all corners of the globe, and major metro areas in the US tend to attract them in large numbers."