The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new proposed rule change that would negatively affect the over one million international students currently in the United States. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; Establishing a Fixed Time Period of Admission and an Extension of Stay Procedure for Nonimmigrant Academic Students, Exchange Visitors, and Representatives of Foreign Information Media would replace a proven, flexible policy that brought millions of international students to the United States along with billions of dollars to the economy.
Studying in the United States has always been a dream of foreign nationals worldwide because of the exceptional post-secondary academic institutions, cutting-edge technology, and the freedom to share thoughts and ideas.
The current policy which has been in effect for decades, states that student visas are good for “duration of status,” which means students can stay in the U.S. indefinitely if they remain enrolled in school and comply with the terms and conditions of their immigration status.
Under the proposed rule, the DHS would set fixed terms of up to four years for student visas and all international students who wished to continue their studies beyond their authorized term would be required to file for an extension directly with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or depart the country and reapply for admission with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Students from countries with high visa overstay rates (greater than 10% for student and exchange visitors) and those who were born in or have citizenship from countries on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list will be limited to an initial two-year fixed period of stay in order to enhance monitoring, deter immigration violations, and encourage timely departure, the official statement said. Applications for extensions of stay could be approved “if the additional time needed is due to a compelling academic reason, documented medical illness or medical condition, or circumstance that was beyond the student’s control,” but the grounds for an extension are very limited.
According to the Trump administration, “this proposal would provide the DHS with additional protections and mechanisms to exercise the oversight necessary to vigorously enforce our nation’s immigration laws, protect the integrity of these nonimmigrant programs, and promptly detect national security concerns.”
Instead of worrying if or when this proposed rule goes into effect, there is currently a better and more flexible option—The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The EB-5 Program offers foreign investors with the required capital a simple path to a U.S. Green Card and permanent residency. One of the many benefits of obtaining a green card is that permanent residents have a greater chance of being accepted to U.S. colleges and universities. With competition for international student spots at U.S. universities increasing, applying as a domestic applicant increases a student’s chance of admission by 350%. Additionally, green card holders can significantly lower tuition costs by qualifying for in-state college tuition, financial aid, and scholarships. Permanent residents also don’t have to worry about completing their studies in four years or less before being sent back home—because they are home.
By using gifted funds from family, an international student interested in pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree can invest in his or her dream of a first-class education in the best university system in the world through the EB-5 Program. The program is open to anyone who can meet its requirements—investing $900,000 or $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise, with the investment creating 10 full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers. Applicants don’t need to be sponsored by a U.S. employer, and they don’t need any specific knowledge, skills, or experience.
The value of a U.S. post-secondary education is multifaceted and cannot be overstated. It can be a life-changing experience for students from all over the world and will put them on the right path to professional success. An investment in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is an investment in the future.