Visas

Growing concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus may have an impact on international education connections with West Africa, reports the Washington Post. Increased scrutiny of student flows to and from West Africa arose as a second case of Ebola transmission in the U.S.

Legislators in the House and the Senate are taking a close look at U.S. visa and travel policies due to recent security concerns about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), various media sources report.

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The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has posted information and FAQs regarding the ongoing efforts to fully restore its global database for issuing travel documents and visas. This database crashed last week, causing an “extensive backlog” for U.S. passports and visas worldwide.

The Department of State’s global database for issuing travel documents and visas has experienced technical problems, causing an “extensive backlog” of applications for U.S. passports and visas worldwide and major delays for potentially millions of people, the Associated Press reports.

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A blog post in The New Yorker discusses the potential value and challenges posed by the rising number of F-1 high school students coming to the U.S. Quoting data provided by CSIET (the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel), the post notes that “between 2007 and 2012, the number of F-1 students at U.S.

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The optional practical training program (OPT), which allows international graduates in the United States on student visas to gain work experience related to their fields of study, lacks sufficient risk assessment and governmental oversight, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

While the government shutdown that went into effect October 1 may not have widespread short-term impact on programs funded through the State Department’s International Affairs Account, “major disruption could occur if the closure continues for a prolonged period of time,” the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) reports.

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The Department of State made publically available an internal memo sent to Assistant Secretaries and Executive Directors last week that details State Department procedures during the government shutdown that went into effect at midnight.

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 Acknowledging the impact international students have on their economies, countries worldwide are increasing their efforts to boost the “stay rate” of international students—the number of talented international students who decide to immigrate to their host country for longer periods of time, or even permanently, in order to live and work there—a recent ICEF Monitor article reports.

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According to the New York Times, the European Commission recently introduced a new directive in order to lower bureaucratic hurdles for the approximately 200,000 students and researchers visiting from outside the European Union every year.

The commission said that the new rules would mandate maximum visa-processing periods of 60 days, easier transfers between member countries, and access to jobs during the stay.

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