On March 6, the White House released a revised travel ban Executive Order that further highlights the uncertainty that international education professionals face in 2017. But before we dive into the revised order, let’s take a moment to discuss (as best we can) 12 frequently asked questions that have emerged since the original Executive Order was issued in January.
Archive for the ‘Foreign Students & Scholars’ Category
After the recent executive orders from President Trump, this blog provides some tips on advising in the face of uncertainty.
There are detailed, practical resources produced by NAFSA that will continue to be updated. NAFSA also cites other reputable resources available for you to use and refer to. This is more critical than ever because of the amount of misinformation and rumors circulating.
- NAFSA Travel Advisory for Nationals of Certain Countries Pursuant to Executive Order
- Practical Immigration Concepts in a Time of Change
This week, the United States welcomes the 10,000th refugee fleeing the violence and turmoil in Syria, thus following through on a promise made by the Obama Administration last year. More could and should be done. NAFSA urges Congress and the next administration to amplify efforts and provide security to as many as 100,000 refugees from Syria in the coming year. As NAFSA CEO Marlene M. Johnson noted in her congressional testimony last year, we have the ability and duty to open our doors to an even greater number of people in need.
In addition to providing security and hope to those fleeing terror, we also urge the administration to streamline the visa process for refugee students in order to ensure that Syrian students seeking higher education in the United States have a path to do so. The administration could, for example, ease the requirement that foreign students demonstrate they have no intent to immigrate to the United States. The administration could also address the severe logistical challenges foreign students face by allowing required in-person interviews to take place in locations other than U.S. consulates.
The United States is viewed by the world as the leader in international education. We not only have the capacity to provide refugee students with an education that begins to reshape the future that was stolen from them, but also the moral obligation to do so.
Incoming refugees are properly and thoroughly screened prior to their arrival in the United States in order to ensure our own safety. By taking the steps to further the education of victims of war—especially in higher education—and providing them opportunities to rebuild their lives and contribute to their new campuses and communities, we foster greater global peace and security as well.
International students and professionals are critical to the strength and well-being of communities across the entire United States, yet their impact is too often overlooked or taken for granted. By delaying meaningful immigration reform, we risk losing the valuable contributions made by these immigrants.
Our Healthcare System Relies on Foreign-Born Professionals
Our healthcare system relies on foreign-born workers, and the demand for medical professionals from outside our borders will only increase. Currently, twenty five percent of physicians and surgeons working in the United States–plus comparable portions of other healthcare positions–were born elsewhere.
As the baby boomer population ages, they will increasingly need more medical care. In addition, their retirements will create a deficit of doctors, surgeons, nurses, health aids, dentists, pharmacists, and clinical techs. As a result, the ability to provide healthcare will be significantly strained, furthering a need for immigrant healthcare professionals.
President Barack Obama recently announced that the United States and China will increase the validity of student and exchange visitor visas from 1 to 5 years, and the validity of short-term tourist and business visas from 1 to 10 years. This is really great news and I’m glad to share why this agreement is important from a student perspective.
To begin with, it saves time, money, and energy for Chinese students studying in the United States. Previously, Chinese students applying for an F-1 visa were only granted an entry visa that was valid for a year. If our visa expired and if we planned to travel outside the United States (perhaps for an internship or study opportunity, or to visit family back home for the holidays), we needed to renew our visa annually, outside of the United States, either in China, Mexico, or Canada, before returning to continue our studies.
Because it’s difficult to figure out the visa renewal process in Mexico without having a strong command of Spanish, and also this year, Canada temporarily suspended processing of all non-Canadian visa applications, we have to go back to China and start the visa application all over again, including paying the $160 visa application fee and waiting hours outside of a U.S. consulate for an interview. Depending on the time of year, it can take up to a month to get your visa renewed. Therefore, most students choose to get their visas renewed during summer vacation. However, it costs at least $1,000 to get a round-trip air ticket to China, and the summer is a precious period of time to gain additional education and professional experience in the United States or somewhere else in the world.
You may have heard that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has shifted course in its efforts to improve the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
SEVP has decided to step away from plans to develop a new “SEVIS II” system, and instead explore options that would enhance the existing SEVIS system. The agency will be working to develop alternative approaches to closing what it sees as security vulnerabilities in the system while also enhancing the value of SEVIS to designated school officials and schools.
I’m pleased to announce that I have been appointed a principal member of the SEVP’s SEVIS Modernization Analysis of Alternatives Oversight Board and will be involved in the development and consideration of these alternatives. I will be joined by NAFSA Director of Regulatory Practice Liaison Steve Springer, who will serve as an associate member of the board.
The board was recently chartered by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is made up of senior federal agency officials and several members of the stakeholder community. With your feedback and input, we will provide valuable guidance to the agency as it works to develop and evaluate alternatives for improving SEVIS.
We welcome your ideas for improving SEVIS. Your voice plays a critical role in our liaison and advocacy efforts, and will be a valuable asset as NAFSA participates in this analysis of alternatives process. As always, we invite you to provide your input to NAFSA staff by visiting IssueNet: Report an Issue.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the board moves forward.
For more on SEVP’s progress in modernizing SEVIS and expectations for the analysis of alternatives process, see the SEVIS: The Way Forward FAQ and SEVP Director Louis M. Farrell’s opening remarks in the July 2014 SEVP-Spotlight. For more information on how the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) generally uses the analysis of alternatives process, see the Analysis of Alternatives Methodologies: Considerations for DHS Acquisition Analysis report.
Did you see the news earlier this week that the British government has a new strategy to recruit 90,000 more international students by 2018? This means a 20% increase in international students in five years. Why are they taking this bold step? Because British lawmakers see international education as an important growth sector that provides widespread economic, cultural, academic, and diplomatic benefits for the country.
The United States could, and should, do the same. NAFSA has long advocated for an inter-agency international education strategy from the federal government. But a different opportunity presents itself right now – the opportunity for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform that would make the United States more competitive and more welcoming to international students.
As the immigration debate shifts gears to the House of Representatives, international educators now have new data and a new web-based, interactive tool to use in educating their representatives on the economic value international students and their dependents contribute to the U.S. economy. The International Student Economic Value Tool shows that the 764,495 international students studying across the United States supported nearly 300,000 jobs and contributed $21.8 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2011-2012 academic year. Further analysis shows that for every 7 enrolled international students, 3 U.S. jobs are created or supported as a result of spending in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance. With the tool’s interactive map, users can easily find the data for their individual congressional districts.
“For years I’ve been using NAFSA’s economic data on international students to show my members of Congress why they need to invest in what we do,”said Sherif Barsoum, director of International Student and Scholar Services at Vanderbilt University and NAFSA Vice President for Public Policy and Practice. “This interactive tool presents the data in a new way that will help my fellow advocates and me paint a better picture of the value of international education to our elected officials.”The United States is in a global competition for talented international students and scholars with other nations that have friendlier immigration policies. According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) findings , the number of international students studying worldwide nearly doubled from 2.1 million to 4.1 million over the past decade. According to Institute for International Education Project Atlas data during that same time frame, the number of international students studying in the United States grew by 31%, while the percentage share of international students worldwide studying in the United States decreased by 10%.
Japan and South Korea hold top 10 spots for the number of students they have studying in the United States. However, when it comes to the number of U.S. students studying in Japan and South Korea, they take 14th and 23rd place respectively. As the United States increasingly turns its focus toward East Asia, how does international exchange affect the developing relationships?
The International Student Council (ISC) brought the Korea-American Student Conference (KASC) and the Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) earlier this month in Washington, DC, for a thoughtful conversation on “Fostering U.S. – Korea – Japan Partnership for the Future.” KASC and JASC are student-led academic and cultural exchange programs that provide a foundation for cultural sensitivity and global awareness.
In an important symbolic victory, the Senate voted 84-15 yesterday to move forward on S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” the commonsense immigration bill being debated in the Senate now. Over the next three weeks as the Senate debates and amends the bill, we need to let senators know there is strong public support for a “yes” vote when it matters on final passage.
This is our chance to get changes to current U.S. immigration law in order to improve our ability to recruit, integrate, and graduate the best and the brightest international students. We are the voice of the global education community and it is critical that we speak out and drown out the negative voices. No one knows this better than NAFSA’s 2013 Advocate of the Year Ken Reade. Reade is associate director of the Office of Visa and Immigration Services at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire made news this week as she stepped forward and publicly endorsed the Senate immigration bill.