With the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the United States now has a new administration. This administration will bring a completely different policy plan and approach to ties with the world. The President and Vice President intend to lead an immigration reform plan, establishing a friendly atmosphere for international students in the United States.
The new administration’s perspective and agenda are particularly important to students from abroad who have had long-lasting hopes of studying in the United States but are discouraged by the previous government’s anti-immigration approach and volatile policies concerning work permits and student visas.
Foreign registration growth slowed to a crawl then dropped.
There was little or no increase in the number of international students in the US during the President Trump administration. The international student population increased by just 0.05% in American universities as of 2018-19 and later decreased by 2% in 2019-20 – the first decline since 2005/06.
The Previous Administration placed travel bans on Muslim majorities, a proposed visa restriction for international students, intense skepticism of foreign Chinese students, and increasing antipathy against immigration infrastructure that allows international students to reside in the United States to work after graduation.
Abrogation of the travel ban.
It seems likely that this administration will be reviewing the proposed regulation on limiting visa terms for foreign students. President Biden has lifted the Muslim travel ban and will follow throw with a proposal to grant green cards to foreign doctoral students on completion of their doctoral program. President Biden also believes in the increase of work visas for international students in areas of the economy where there is a lack of skills.
The fact that Democrats have a majority in both the House and the Senate is expected to lay the foundation for the Biden government to pursue its agenda to revitalize higher education in the US with no need for executive orders.
An optimistic future.
Dr. Esther Brimmer, Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA, released this statement in early November 2020 at the time the news reported that Joe Biden had won US elections:
“The past four years have been one of the most challenging periods in the history of our field, during which international educators have shown unparalleled strength and resilience. They have defended the field against travel bans, executive orders, detrimental regulatory actions, and xenophobic rhetoric. Now we face a horrific pandemic, which further threatens our field and our lives.
We are eager to work with the Biden-Harris administration as President-elect Biden has pledged to directly address many of these issues as he takes office. We are also excited to welcome Dr. Jill Biden to the White House given her long-standing commitment to expanding access to higher education; specifically advancing our nation’s community colleges. To that end, we see encouraging signs that suggest a more favorable climate for international education, science, and engagement with the world.”
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