New US immigration law could affect student visa applicants

New US immigration law could affect student visa applicants

A new US immigration law from the Donald Trump administration may cut legal immigration into the country by half, with F1 US student visa holders expected to be among the affected immigrant groups.

The “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds” rule will apply to anyone who is or will be “applying to an F1 student visa, or H-1B visa or an extension of such temporary visas plus applications for green cards by [such] visa holders,” former White House official Doug Rand has told India’s Hindustan Times.

Indians in US likely to be most affected

The biggest nationality to be hit by the new US immigration law could be Indians. Indians make up over 60 percent of all recipients of H-1B visas and Indian students account for approximately 18 percent of foreign students in the USA.

Whilst most Indians in the US are financially independent, there is likely to be some impact once the rule comes into effect.

The change, which will be implemented from 15 October by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will see extensions of stay or a change of visa status denied to foreigners that have received public benefits over a designated threshold from the US government.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on Monday that the rule: “clearly defines long-standing law to better ensure that aliens seeking to enter and remain in the United States – either temporarily or permanently – are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family members, sponsors, and private organizations rather than on public resources,” the US immigration agency said.

New US immigration law exclusions will apply to some

The DHS determines admissibility based on whether they are likely to become a “public charge” at any time in the future. The USCIS defines “public charge” as an individual who receives one or more “public benefits”.

The public benefits of note include cash benefits from the government for maintenance, most forms of Medicaid, certain housing programmes, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and food stamps.

The recipient is not to receive more than 12 months of assistance in a 36-month period; however receiving two benefits concurrently in the same month will count as two months of benefit receipt.

The new regulation will not apply to humanitarian-based immigration programmes for refugees, asylum seekers, Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJs), certain trafficking victims as well as those of domestic violence and some specific criminal activity, among others.

The USCIS has clarified that Medicaid for emergency medical services, for pregnant women, non-immigrants under 21 and school-based services will be excluded from the public benefits definition.

Photo: Jeremy Dorrough

Kate Frazer - Global Education Times (GET News)

Kate Frazer is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on UK/Ireland and North American education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Kate spends her time as an English and Maths tutor, and is currently pursuing her PGCE in Secondary Mathematics.
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