Exchange Visitor Program

In addition to boosting exchange funding by $44 million in FY 2005, the omnibus funding package approved by the House and Senate on Saturday includes provisions that affect the Exchange Visitor Program, encourages establishment of new work exchange programs with Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and addresses U.S. visa policy and process.

Congress Seeks Program Regulations for the Exchange Visitor Program; Authorizes New Work Exchange Programs with Australia, Canada and New Zealand

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In addition to boosting exchange funding by $44 million in FY 2005, the omnibus funding package approved by the House and Senate on Saturday includes provisions that affect the Exchange Visitor Program, encourages establishment of new work exchange programs with Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and addresses U.S. visa policy and process.

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The Alliance this fall completed its second trip to visit consular posts in Europe to discuss visa processing. We visited the following posts: Dublin, Riga, Kiev, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk, and Krakow, where consular staff from Warsaw also participated in the meetings.

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Responding to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Richard Lugar’s (R-IN) desire that the United States “achieve an effective balance on student visas”, members of the higher education and exchange communities yesterday offered suggestions to improve visa processing at a hearing before the Committee.

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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a wide-ranging bill last week that would significantly increase funding for exchange programs, and directs the Department of State to undertake major changes in visa processing, its administration of the Exchange Visitor Program, and its conduct of public diplomacy.

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The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a wide-ranging bill last week that would significantly increase funding for exchange programs, and directs the Department of State to undertake major changes in visa processing, its administration of the Exchange Visitor Program, and its conduct of public diplomacy.

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In an effort to eliminate barriers to foreign students and exchange visitors, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would streamline the visa process and require the government to develop a strategic plan to attract foreign students.

Recognizing that the safety and security of the United States are extremely important, in his statement on the Senate Floor introducing the bill, Coleman said, "We all know there is absolutely no such thing as an absolute guarantee of absolute security in a free society, so what we do is measure the level of threat against the loss of certain other values and then we try to strike a balance. In the area of student visas, I believe we have pushed security concerns beyond the logical point and need to make adjustments to our policy."

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Meeting Date: March 18, 2004
Place: American Councils for International Education
Task Force chair: Elizabeth Chazottes, AIPT

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The Alliance’s fourth annual Advocacy Day was held on February 12, 2004, in conjunction with the Association for International Education Administrators (AIEA), an Alliance member representing the chief international officers on campuses throughout the United States. The successful partnership between the Alliance and AIEA garnered 123 participants who visited more than 120 House and Senate offices on Capitol Hill, representing 28 states. AIEA’s membership generated 49 of the participants, with 74 coming from other Alliance member organizations. In all, 28 Alliance member organizations participated.

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