According to the American Council on Education, provisions in the current US immigration bill for international students, such as the authorization of dual-purpose, would positively message those who wish to study in the US.
Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Linda Sanchez proposed the US Citizenship Act of 2021 last month, which has clauses that will benefit international students, according to the organization.
These include allowing F-1 visa applicants to have “dual purpose” and proposed laws that will make it easier for foreign STEM PhD students to remain in the US after graduation.
“I’m optimistic that the dual purpose clause would be effective in delivering a welcome message to foreign students,” said Sarah Spreitzer, head of government affairs at ACE, to The PIE News.
“We accept dual purpose on other visa systems, but it has never been allowed for F-1 visas. As a result, a student would not be required to prove that they own property in their home country to indicate that they want to return.”
International students must declare that they wish to leave the United States after their classes are completed under the new scheme, which does not allow dual purpose.
If a student cannot expressly explain that they want to return to their home country after completing their studies, visas will be refused.
According to Karin Fischer, nine out of ten visa denials – almost a quarter of all applicants – are due to the applicant’s inability to persuade officials that they are only coming to study and then leaving.
The dual purpose allowance has previously been at the top of NAFSA and ACE’s wish lists for the incoming Biden administration.
Another relevant proposal for international students is detailed in Section 3401 of the bill. It will establish a new green card scheme for international students who graduate with a PhD in a STEM field as established by the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs from an accredited nonprofit or for-profit institution of higher education.
“If you were a STEM PhD graduate who wanted to stay in the world, you might apply for a green card right away,” Spreitzer said.
The nation caps on green cards will be re-evaluated, and this proposed green card for PhD graduate students.
“The country limit on green cards is another issue that foreign student graduates who want to stay in the country have been concerned about,” Spreitzer said.
“This bill will resolve this by raising the total number of green cards, capturing previously discarded green cards, eliminating those groups from the numerical limit, and then removing the per-country caps,” according to the bill.
The PIE announced earlier this year that OPT backlogs were causing international students to lose work prospects and their legal immigrant status.
The new bill’s section 3410 will preclude those problems in the future. If they have a pending visa petition or application (such as H-1B) for more than a year, new laws will allow them to extend their non-immigrant visas, including F-1s for international students.
Extensions will be issued in one-year instalments, which would qualify for job authorization is approved.
“You should be on a visa status if you have a pending visa application for longer than a year,” Spreitzer told The PIE. “It will be useful with the existing OPT delays that we have.”