Studying in Trump's America: Impossible Possibility?
Over 1.5 lakh Indians pursue various educational and professional degrees in the United States of America annually. Many of them, however, are confused and anxious. These uncertainties have arisen after the presidential elections of US.
There are many statements about restricting immigration to the often changing stances of the State-Head, Donald J Trump. It has left many Indian Students with a pertinent question being asked repeatedly: Why should I study in the United States of America when Donald Trump is the President?
Given that the best universities of the world are in the US, this becomes an even more difficult question to answer. The answer to this question required detailed research. Some keen observations from our research are presented as under -
While a lot of confusion is prevailing around the immigration laws, Indian students pursuing various educational and professional degrees at various American universities are living on a legal student visa. The whole exercise is taking place around illegal immigration laws.
There is a talk of increasing the cap for obtaining an H1B Visa and this has indeed perplexed a lot of Indian students in pursuing their educational as well as professional options in the US.
Firstly, one does not require an H1-B Visa to study in the US. Indian students study in the American Universities on F1, J1 or M1 visa. And the number of visas granted in these categories have been steadily going up over the years.
Secondly, if one is planning to work in States after completing his/her educational degree, he/she is eligible for a training period (called Optional Training Period) in the country itself. Also, the increased cap majorly affects the 'cheap labor' induced through the IT sector, which ultimately plays to the benefit of highly educated graduates from the best universities of US. In this process, the major recipients get blocked (who are not well qualified), and the window for F1 holders to get H1B visa increases substantially.++
The American Compulsion
"Wouldn't it be better if we invited foreign students graduating from our colleges to stay to build American companies, instead of foreign companies that will be wreaking havoc against Boeing, Caterpillar, and many other of our great American companies in the future?", says Trump himself in an interview with Fox News.
Trump came to the power on the promises of making 'America Great Again', which means an increase in jobs and higher growth in US economy. With every sixth international student being an Indian, one's role in contributing to the US economy is factually way too big to be ignored. They need highly skilled graduates, and despite their preference towards their citizens, merit is a requirement not an additional qualifier.
The Need of the American Universities
American Universities are sites of exploration and innovation due to their kaleidoscopic diversity. And to maintain diversity in their programs, these universities need international students. But for them, the universities shall see an undesirable loss - culturally and financially (wherein the fee structure for an international student is about 2.5 times that of local students), which is clearly hard to ignore.
Keeping all the above points in mind, we believe that the US universities shall continue to be attractive destinations for international students. These are clearly some of the best places in the world to study. And the economic merit of these students, from the point of the university and the labor market, would ensure that they continue to be in demand.
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