In a move we have advocated since 2009, the University of Illinois (and Ohio State, among others) recently had their Masters’ in Accountancy program added to the qualifying list of STEM majors. This is significant because the designation allows foreign nationals an extended work visa timeframe post graduation without requiring an H1B visa sponsorship. Normally, a foreign student will be allowed up to 18 months to work in the US without work visa sponsorship. However, STEM degrees enjoy up to a 24 month extension. A major consideration is the level of mathematics included in the degree, and each program is measured differently from school to school. So verify whether the program you choose has been granted qualification for STEM designation.
With unemployment in accounting and finance usually well below the overall unemployment numbers, it is always relatively more difficult to find top talent in these fields regardless of the economic climate. Also, in many masters level programs across the country, more than 50% of the students are foreign nationals. Why would we not make it easier for them to stay and contribute to our economy if they wish to do so? Well, finally it is a little bit easier for them.
For more information on the U of I article referenced, click here: https://dailyillini.com/news/2018/04/09/accountancy-and-accounting-science-received-stem-designations/
For guidance from the Department of Immigration click here: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/students-and-employment/stem-opt