The United States government has further tightened the visa rule pertaining to foreign students. The Trump administration issued a draft policy that makes the calculation of the visa overstay by foreign students more strict. Simply put, the new rule will result in more days being counted as unlawful presence. This new policy will come into effect from August 9.
For example, students on an F-1 visa, after completion of their study, are allowed to stay for a grace period of 60 days to change their student visa status to a work visa or else they should leave the US.
Under present rule, the clock to calculate the number of days of unlawful presence begins ticking only from the day authorities discover the violation or an immigration judge passes an order, such as for deportation.
Whereas, under the new policy, unlawful presence - stay beyond a student's visa tenure - will be calculated from the day the student fails to maintain 'immigration status'.
As per the draft policy memorandum, the immigration status is considered not maintained from the day students stop pursuing their course of study or engage in unauthorised activity or complete their programme and complete their authorised grace period.
The latest publicly available data (Homeland Security report for fiscal 2016) shows that 4,575 of the 98,970 students from India scheduled to leave the US or change their status had violated norms and overstayed.
After the Chinese, Indians are the largest group of foreign students in the US. International Student Data from the Open Doors Report (2017) shows that there are 1.86 lakh students in the US. So, the new visa policy may have a great impact on the Indian students studying in the US.