The United States may put greater restrictions on student visas for Chinese students as part of protectionist measures sought by the administration of President Donald Trump.
Trump’s government has long talked about reducing the US trade deficit with China, and new measures include the possibility of restricting Chinese investment in the US and limits on visas for students, academics and executives to visit and study there, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The WSJ report said that “the goal is to limit the technology transfer, but any such effort is bound to kick up stiff opposition from US universities, which count on revenue from Chinese students.”
A statement from Esther D. Brimmer the Executive Director of NAFSA Association of International Educators said that restricting visas for Chinese students would “not make America great” and could have “devastating effect” on the higher education sector.
“Students around the world pay close attention to the policies and rhetoric emanating from the White House,” said Brimmer.
“In order to avoid a further chilling effect in the United States, it is incumbent upon policy leaders to act boldly and decisively to let students know that they are welcome here and that we value their contributions.”
Recently released data showed that 78,000 fewer international students were granted visas in 2017 compared with 2016. Chinese and Indian students, the two most prominent international student communities in the US, saw the most dramatic falls in visa allocations.
“With international students contributing $36.9 billion to the U.S. economy last year and supporting more than 450,000 jobs, any drop in enrollment would have severe consequences,” added NAFSA’s statement.
“Because Chinese students and scholars contribute so much to our science and innovation, virtually every community in America would feel the impact if Chinese student visas were restricted in any way.”