Yesterday, the US State Department announced plans to decrease the longevity of visas held by Chinese citizens who graduate with a degree in fields like robotics, high-tech manufacturing or aviation.
The decision came about as a part of tackling the alleged theft of US intellectual property by Beijing, Associated Press reported.
The visa application process is not set to change, however it is likely to be considerably more difficult for Chinese citizens studying or working in the US to get their visa and to stay longer than a year.
We should be clear that US technical leadership relies on immigrants. Take them away from our university STEM departments or high-tech companies and you can just shut us down and turn out the lights. The US has been attracting the best and brightest 1/nhttps://t.co/9XUls77n5a?
— Dan Singleton (@dasingleton) May 30, 2018
Currently, Chinese graduates from US universities whose work visas have been approved are automatically issued them for the longest possible duration.
However, the changes will mean that Chinese students who are majoring in any one of the three technology-based subjects listed or surrounding fields will be ineligible for anything longer than a year-long visa, a US official told Associated Press.
If a Chinese soon-to-be-graduate in the US wishes to obtain a visa under the new regulations, they will also need special clearance from numerous agencies if they are hoping to work as a researcher or manager for any company on a US Commerce Department list of entities requiring higher scrutiny.
The US official told Associated Press it is anticipated that the clearances needed to secure a visa will take months.
The fields the State Department intend to place limits on are some of the key areas Beijing highlighted as ‘national priorities’ in its Made in China 2025 strategic plans.
Tuesday’s announcement did not come as a complete surprise: Trump had implied international students studying STEM subjects were likely to face stricter visa restrictions in his national security plan published in December.
The national security document claimed the US would be reviewing the visa procedure for international students “to reduce economic theft by non-traditional intelligence collectors.”
The changes will come into action on June 11, 2018.