Comments by Sanwar Ali:
Student visa programs are a way for countries to increase their “soft power” worldwide. Those international students who eventually return to their home country will most likely have fond memories of where they studied. They are also likely to do better than the average student back home. People in power and influence overseas with favourable impressions of the US are more likely to buy American and be more sympathetic towards the US.
It has also been shown that F1 visa students who remain in the US contribute enormously to the US economy by working in high level jobs and in creating businesses that employ millions. Surely part of the “American Dream”. Trump and the US should think very carefully before adding more restrictions to F1 international students.
The Trump administration looks set to crackdown on open-ended international student visas by introducing two- or four-year visa validity limits. A report published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) claims that the Department of Homeland Security has proposed a fixed end-date for student visas once they are granted.
The proposal, which was recently posted in the Federal Register, aims to move away from current US immigration rules for international students which allows them to remain in the country provided that they are in school.
It’s understood that under the proposal most visa validity periods would be set at four years, even if a student is enrolled in a longer graduate program or requires additional time to complete a degree.
F1 visa students from countries with high visa overstay rates
For students arriving in the US from countries with high US visa overstay rates, the visa validity period will be set at two years, according to the proposal. The new rule will reportedly apply to F1 visa holders, J1 visa holders and visa applicants in the ‘I’ program – reserved for members of the foreign media, press and radio.
Under the proposals, the four-year validity period, will mainly apply to F and J category visa applicants, unless the DHS decides that non-immigrants are subject to a shorter duration of stay that will be limited to two years.
Other updates under the proposed rule include decreasing F category non-immigrants’ time to exit the US from 60 days to 30 days, while collecting routine biometric information from F, J and I category non-immigrants seeking an extension of stay.
The proposal is currently open to public comments.
F1 student visas targeted
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration attempted to force out international students on US F1 and M1 visas if their courses were moved fully online. Students were threatened with deportation from the US, unless they switched to an educational institution that offered in-person tuition.
However, the administration was forced to scrap the move amid a huge public backlash and staunch opposition from some of the USA’s biggest education providers, including Harvard University and MIT.
US tech firms, including Facebook and Google also joined the fight, filing court papers that argued that the rule would lead to ‘serious adverse economic consequences. America’s future competitiveness rests on attracting and retaining talented international students,’ the firms said.
The administration was hit with several lawsuits over plans to expel international students from the US, with 18 state attorney generals suing the Department of Homeland Security. The rule was rescinded, allowing international students to take their classes online given the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) statement
An official statement from the DHS concerning the latest proposal, said: “The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Non-immigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors and Representatives of Foreign Information Media, proposes to remove the duration of status framework that currently allows aliens in F, J and I classifications to remain in the United States for as long as they maintain compliance with the terms of admission.”
Workpermit.com can help with US employment-based visas
Workpermit.com is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details. You can also telephone 0344 991 9222.