Recently the 2021 NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference was held.
In the conference concerns about international students losing the chance to attend classes in the US universities have been raised by concerned parties. The huge visa backlogs have been admitted to by an official at the US State Department at the conference.
The same official stated that US consulates and embassies all over the world don’t expect the resuming of full services in the near future.
The official added that US Embassies and Consulates worldwide don’t expect to resume ‘full services’ any time soon. This has placed US immigration in a tricky place.
Challenges for international students
The challenges faced by international students due to the issues in the US visa application process were discussed in the conference. International students are finding it difficult to get appointments. The discontinuation of visa services in China was specifically discussed. Thankfully, those visa services are resuming in Beijing now.
The contribution of China to the influx of international students is considerably high in the US. The delay in US visa processing is presenting a grave situation for educational migration and the academic programs at institutions in the US.
It seems the US is telling visa applicants to wait longer. This indicates that the US visa applications are going to take longer than expected to be processed for a considerable time. This way, US immigration has made matters harder for visa applicants.
The US President, Joe Biden, had however given a directive to the DoS to resume visa processing services in the country. The directive was especially according to executive order 14012.
Under US immigration rules currently followed, the US consulates and embassies are giving priority to travelers having urgent needs. Also in priority are foreign diplomats and travelers of mission-critical categories. The people who come under critical categories include those traveling to the US to serve in the fight against COVID-19 or are arriving to work in USA to maintain food supplies.
Lower priority is assigned to student exchange visitors. The same treatment goes for some applicants of temporary US work visas and student visas.
The proposal to advise students to apply for a US study visa in a US consulate or embassy outside their own country met with criticism at the conference.
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