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US Consulates in China Instructed to Issue Shorter Student Visas Starting June 11

May 30, 2018

Update: Starting June 11, Chinese students coming to the US for graduate studies in technical fields like robotics, aviation, and high-tech manufacturing will be issued shorter visas. The exact duration or each visa will be decided by consular officials on a case-by-case basis. In addition, Chinese citizens working as researchers or managers in sensitive industries will also face new levels of scrutiny when seeking work-visas such as L1s or H1Bs.

Impact: These restrictions are narrowly focused at this point; relating to a small subset of the more than 1 million non-immigrant visas issued to Chinese citizens each year. It is also limited in scope – impacting the ability of Chinese students to travel during their studies (but not impacting their authorization to remain in the US), and increasing visa processing time for employees of certain industries (but not impacting the duration of their work authorization once in the US).

EIG Analysis: Under the Trump administration, we have frequently seen immigration restrictions used as part of larger political strategies. In this case, the imposition of immigration restrictions is part of an ongoing discussion between the US and China about trade and, since it is focused on students, the transfer of knowledge and intellectual property. While the direct impact is slight, it does send a message that immigration can be impacted by political maneuverings seemingly far removed from global mobility.