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Among the first policies announced by US President Donald Trump after taking office in January 2017 was a crackdown on the issuing visas, including H1-B visas that are commonly used by Indian students in the US after completing their education.
US Department of State statistics show that for the year ending September 30, 2017, around 27 percent less students visas were issued to India compared to the corresponding period under the previous Obama presidency. While in the September 2017 academic period 47,302 student visas were issued to Indians, in 2016, a total of 65,257 visas were issued.
The drop in the number of student visas issued by the US was also visible amongst Chinese students, with a 24 percent drop in the number of student visas issued in 2017. The overall decline in the number of visas issued to foreign students stood at 17 percent.
Although no changes have been made to the US's F1 visa issued to students, the crackdown on H1-B visas, which are used for working in the US, and uncertainties regarding optional practical training programs (OPTs) where international students work in the US for a few years has affected the interest of student in studying in the US.
According to analysts, the high tuition rates along with uncertain working future in the US has resulted in the sharp decline in interest of international students to study in the US.
Students wishing to pursue further studies abroad are now turning to countries like Canada, Germany and Australia which provide better opportunities for international students to stay in the country after graduation.
The decline in the number of international students is affecting Universities in the US as well, as they are losing out on the tuition fees that would otherwise be coming in with the large number of foreign students.