More than 55 post-secondary institutions in New York have written a joint letter to top members of the state Congressional delegation expressing concerns over visa delays affecting international students.
The college leaders wrote that they have faced a lot of barriers in the last couple of years in attracting and retaining international students, affecting the overall academic research community and the state’s economy.
Nationally, higher education institutions are witnessing a decline in the enrollment numbers of international students. Out of 540 institutions surveyed for the 2018 Open Doors Report, 49 percent reported a decline in new international student enrollment,
With New York being one among the top states attracting most international students, the presidents said that delays in issuing visas, processing delays for the Optional Practical Training program approvals, and a doubling of Requests for Evidence related to H-1B visas is causing a slump in enrollments.
“The increasing backlog in the U.S. immigration system has resulted in some of our schools experiencing considerable declines in foreign student enrollment, and of course, has raised concerns about the future for all of us,” the letter reads.
Various reports have attributed this declining enrollment to various factors, including delays and denials of visas, changing preferences of international students, and the present political and social climate in the U.S.
The letter also raised questions over Donald Trump administration’s rescinding of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and travel ban in 2017
The college presidents urged the Congressional delegation to monitor the policies and administrative actions that are adversely affection international student enrollment.