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'Need Transparency in Immigration': Indian Students on Joe Biden Administration

Joe Biden's office announced its decision to cancel a proposal by Trump to limit student visas to a fixed term.

Updated

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

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In early July, US President Joe Biden's office announced its decision to cancel a proposal by his predecessor Donald Trump to limit student visas to a four-year term.

In September 2020, the Trump administration proposed limiting student visas to fixed terms, departing from the earlier practice of allowing the visas to remain valid for as long as a student is enrolled at a university.

The proposal, which was put to public comment, received 32,000 public comments, 99 percent of which disapproved of Trump's proposal.

The Quint spoke to a few Indian students in the US to understand how they benefit from the cancellation of the proposal and their expectations from the Biden administration.

A Good Move

For non-immigrant students, the prospects of working in the US are diminished if a fixed-term visa is put in place, say students.

"Whenever an international student like me or for that matter any international student from any other country applies to US universities, they probably look out for job opportunities to add to their resume here. And this rule was saying that the duration of your stay would be fixed to only your course," said Siddharth Tripathi, a graduate student at Texas A&M University.

Another student, Sai Tharun Badabagni said the visa process in itself is a complex and painstaking task, that requires students to go back to their home country every four years to get their visa status reapproved. A further limit would only make it worse for them.

The press release from the Department of Homeland Security further mentions a four-year limit would add to the costs of foreign students and scholars and even result in lost job opportunities.

But students are confident in the Biden administration's efforts to revisit immigration policies.

"The Trump administration was a bit fickle on this aspect," said Tripathi, hopeful of no further chances of a sudden policy change that was typical of Trump.

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Seeking Friendlier Immigration Policy

Students say having friendlier immigration policies will encourage more Indians to pursue higher studies in the US.

Indians constitute the second-largest student community in the US, after China. However, Trump's stringent visa regulations resulted in a steady decline in the popularity of US as a destination for higher education as many chose countries with friendlier immigration policies.

Dipti Jha, a recent graduate of Washington University in St Louis, believes there needs to be more transparency in immigration laws.

"I don't think any other country has such archaic immigration laws – laws which made the US unfriendlier over the years," she said.

Though happy with Biden's move to reverse some of Trump's decisions, she said it's about time the US made it simpler for students to study, work and even settle in the country.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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