US: Fixed Time Period Of Stay For International Students?

Trump administration is bringing on more proposals that could restrict foreign nationals on nonimmigrant visas for work and education. Though the country is issuing a good number of visas every year, the extension rejections have seen a large spike in the last two years, and as a result, many Indians had to return home.

Now, with the pandemic hit and recession, there were a large number of work-visa holders who lost jobs and had to return whenever the international travel is allowed. Amid these, the Trump administration started focusing on restricting international students from staying as per ‘duration of status’ and instead proposed to implement the ‘maximum period of authorized stay’.

This new proposal if comes to rule, clearly indicates when a student must leave the US, unlike the process of students seeking extensions of the authorized tenure.

The US Department of Homeland Security has submitted the proposal for review at Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which is titled ‘Establishing a fixed time period of admission and extension of stay procedure for non-immigrant academic students, exchange visitors and representatives of foreign information media’. The review by the OMB will be published in the Federal Register for public comments before it is implemented.

According to the current norms, International students can stay in the country as long as they are engaged in the visa-bound activity without any specific departure date, which is referred to as ‘duration of status’. Students visit the US on F-1 visa to pursue their Masters and usually stay back with STEM and OPT (optional practical training) choices and then start trials for H-1B work visas. Now with a fixed time duration of stay in the US, the overstaying could be curbed.

If this rule becomes part of immigration, many foreign students might not show their interest in pursuing Masters in the United States of America universities, as most of the students either academic studies or other vocational students wish to stay back until they get a hands-on work visa.

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