U.S. Government reports a sharp decline in the number of F-1 Student Visas Issued
New U.S. State Department data show a sharp decrease in the number of F-1 visas issued to international students in 2017.
The statistics show that the number of F-1 Visas issued has been decreasing year after year since 2015. In 2017 a total of 393,573 F-1 Visas were issued, which represents a decrease of nearly 17 percent from the previous year.
In 2016, a total of 471,728 visas were issued, while 644,233 visas were issued in 2015. That year saw the highest number of F-1 visas issued in the past five years.
More specifically, there has been a significant decline in the number of visas issued to international students from India and China. Both countries witnessed a 28 and 24 percent decline, respectively.
These numbers support published surveys and reports that have indicated a drop in international student enrolment at both the graduate and undergraduate level at American post-secondary institutions. One survey in particular by the Council of Graduate Schools outlined that the number of applications and admissions from prospective international post-graduate students witnessed a decline in 2017.
Revision of visa policies
Without access to data on the rate of visa acceptance and rejection, it may difficult to get the complete picture of the reasons behind the downward trend. However, a recent article by the Wall Street Journal claims that President Donald Trump’s more restrictive proposals regarding visas may be having an effect.
One Trump Administration proposal that would significantly impact international students is the promise to revoke a work program that enables international students to work after graduation.
Also, SI News has reported on the possibility of the Trump administration changing regulations that would reduce the number of years science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) students are allowed to work in the U.S. after graduation.
Currently, international students in STEM fields are allowed to stay an additional two years beyond the 12-month limit for international students. In contrast, Canada has experienced growth in international student enrolment and was ranked the most attractive study destination for international students in recent global surveys.
International students are encouraged to stay and work in the country for up to three years after graduation through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
Every Canadian province offers a Provincial Nominee Program category or stream specifically catering to international students who have chosen Canada as their study destination.
Recently, Manitoba announced a new Canadian immigration program, the International Education Stream, which will prioritize international STEM graduates from Manitoba post-secondary institutions.
Canada’s Atlantic Provinces also have a dedicated category under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program for international students, who have studied in one of the four Atlantic Provinces and have arranged employment in the province.
In a 2016 Government of Canada report, international students are considered vital to Canada’s immigration future due to their established social networks in the communities where they have chosen to study.