Trump administration targets foreign students overstaying visa period


Washington, May 12: The Trump administration on Friday announced new measures to strictly enforce rules governing foreign college students and exchange visitors who overstay their visa duration.
In a separate announcement, the administration also unveiled increased efforts to prevent foreign workers programmes, such as H-1B visas, from being used to discriminate against Americans.
Indians are the second largest group of foreigners enrolled in US colleges and universities and 4,575 of the 98,970 of them scheduled to leave or change their status — possibly to H-1B — had overstayed in 2016.
Indians are also the major beneficiaries of the foreign workers programme, cornering more than 75% of the H-1Bs granted in 2017.
The new rules for visa over-stayers changes the way authorities calculate “unlawful presence” and they pertain to foreign students and exchange visitors on F, J and M visas and their dependents, said the US Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS) said in a separate announcement.
Holders of these visas will be declared that they are unlawfully present in the US, the agency said, from “the day after” they finish their course or study programme or their optional practical training (OPT), which is a work permit for foreign students after their course, which can last from one to three years.
The new rules come into effect from August 9.
Earlier, holders of these visas became illegal from the day they were discovered to be in violation.
The change is important because of what follows: 180 days of overstay during one stay could lead to the violator being barred from entering the US for three to 10 years, depending on how long they overstayed.
Individuals who overstayed for a year or more, whether during one or multiple stays, and who then tried or re-entered the US without being paroled, ran the risk of being barred permanently.
All over-stayers will not be eligible to apply for a visa, under the new rules. (Agencies)