The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday proposed fixed time limits for international students, exchange visitors and foreign information media representatives to combat overstays.
Under DHS’ new proposal, citizens or people born in the underlisted countries would be banned from getting student visas longer than two years, meaning they would be banned from getting a four-year degree in the United States.
The countries are Afghanistan, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, and Kosovo.
Others are Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.
Only a few African countries escape the restrictions. If DHS’ new proposed rule goes through, international students from the countries the listed above would be effectively banned from getting four-year degrees in the US.
The agency announced its plans to mandate fixed time periods for certain visitors, citing goals to “encourage program compliance, reduce fraud and enhance national security.” The move would change current policy that allows these visitors to stay as long as they follow the “terms of admission.”
DHS noted there has been “significant growth” in all three non-immigration programmes, and the proposal would “ensure the integrity of the U.S. immigration system.”