For international students who are currently studying in the USA, the rules for their visa have changed. Earlier Trump said that the exceptional students who come to America for studying should be able to stay, work and thrive in the country.
But the Department of Homeland Security has been making moves to change the visa rules for the international students who stay in the country after their education is completed.
They are making the visa changes, which would result in a more expensive stay in America for the international students who have completed their education.
The Current Scenario is Changing
Right now, any international student is allowed to stay for a period which is necessary to complete their education. There are no restrictions if he/she wants to take a year off and complete their second major.
Till the time any of the International students don’t violate the terms of visa, there is no need to worry. But that is all changing now. The rules for the visa will be changed to restrict the time they stay in America. The government earlier didn’t care how long a student was staying in the country, but now it does.
Read More: Trump’s New Immigration Policy May Affect Overseas Students
A senior director of public policy at NAFSA, Rachel Banks compared it to the movie theatre example. When you purchase a ticket and enter inside, no one cares about how long you are inside the movie theatre till the time you don’t go out of the theatre and try to enter back.
Just like this, right now, student visas for America come with an expiration date. This expiration date only determines the time after which a student won’t be able to enter the American soil once he/she has left. But this doesn’t mean that they have to leave immediately once their visa is expired.
Department of Homeland Security Terms It as a Problem
The Department of Homeland Security has termed the current visa rules as a problem. That is why it has proposed that necessary changes be made where expiration date and country leaving date is very strictly specified. So when the last day of stay for any international student arrives, they leave anyhow.
The department says that it wants to roll out these changes by the end of the month. The reason behind these visa changes has been reported to crack down on international students who have not applied for a visa extension nor have switched to any different type of visa.
Some People Are Against The Proposed Changes
Even though the changes are proposed with a sense for the well being of America, there are some Americans who think that this is not needed. One of those Americans is Miriam Feldblum. She is the executive director of the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.
Her view on these proposed changes is opposing. She says that the prevailing system is good and does not need any drastic changes such as this. It is interesting to note that her organization represents a good number of universities in America. She believes that these changes are going to cause uncertainties in the minds of the campuses and students.
This would also result in increased bureaucratic work. There would be more need for matching the documents and filing both for the authorities and the students. She also said that there are not a lot of students who overstay after their education is finished. This is why changing the rules for those small percentage of students do not make any sense.
One more person, Peter Spiro, who specializes in the immigration law at Temple University, said that it is very important for the government to think about what they are doing. He questioned whether the government wants to increase the administrative burden an international student has to go through already?
He mentioned that the numbers of international students applying for American universities have already been in a declining trend since 2017. So, this move would certainly add to it.
No Exact Figures Available for International Students Who Overstay
There are no exact numbers available to analyze how many international students overstay after their education is complete. But still, a representative of the ICE presented the approximate number of international students who are overstaying.
According to a report from 2018, roughly 68,000 people on student exchanges or student programs overstayed in America. Now, this number is not short. This is why the Department of Homeland Security wants to introduce this new rule for visas.
Robert Warren, who is a demographer by profession and has already worked for the Census Bureau, questioned whether the US Government is over-estimating the number of international students who are overstaying. It is interesting to note that this is not the only attempt by the Trump administration to bring a change in the visa rules.