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What We’re Watching: Global Trade Discussions Raise Issue of Potential Visa Restrictions

March 17, 2018

Update:  According to recent reports from the ongoing trade discussions in Washington, the White House has floated the idea of restricting student visas for Chinese nationals in the context of imposing tariffs and trade restrictions on imports from China and other countries.

EIG Analysis:  Were restrictions to be imposed, it would likely impact potential students obtaining their first F-1 visas, and students seeking visa stamping during trips abroad. It is unlikely to impact students already in the US who are studying or on OPT, unless they need to travel internationally.

Background: Discussions are in preliminary stages, wrapped up in a complex conversation about international trade. According to Politico, “some administration officials have raised objections to the visa restrictions, and it’s unclear whether they’ll be included in the final package.” If restrictions were imposed, it could exacerbate the downturn in the volume of international students coming to the US, a trend that has already been widely observed.