Visas

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is expected to unveil legislation this week to address “demands from high-tech companies for a relaxation of restrictions on foreign graduate students and technicians,” CQ.com reports (subscribers only). Cornyn’s bill may draw from several bi-partisan measures that have already been proposed:

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NAFSA: Association of International Educators posted two items on its blog this week: one tackling the issue of “Higher Education’s Stake in the Immigration Reform Debate,” and the second focusing on new Pew data on Mexican migration (“there may now be more Mexicans going back to Mexico from the United States than there are coming in”).

During a trip to Disneyland last week and as part of his ‘We Can’t Wait’ jobs initiative, President Obama announced new initiatives targeted at boosting travel and tourism in the U.S. and making the U.S. “the world’s top travel and tourism destination,” according to a White House press statement.

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Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) yesterday introduced a draft bill that would make it easier for international graduates in high-demand fields to remain in the U.S. and would offer temporary student visas to young illegal immigrants enrolling in college, CQ.com reports.

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The U.S. Mission to China adjudicated more than one million U.S. visas for Chinese students, tourists, and businesspeople during FY 2011, a 34 per cent increase from FY 2010, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke recently announced in a press release by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. This number consists of the contributions by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, as well as the U.S. Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, and Chengdu, the press release points out.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released yesterday a briefing paper by Daniel Costa critical of the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program. A summary and the full briefing paper are available on EPI’s website

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Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee approved an amended bill sponsored by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to revoke or refuse a visa to an individual or a class of individuals if DHS deems such action to be in the interest of U.S. national security, according to CQ.com.

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The UK is planning to cut the number of student visas issued over the next five years by 260,000, according to a recent Times Higher Education article.

The Times further cited an estimate released earlier this week according to which the recent changes to the UK student visa system will also result in cuts to the number of visas issued to dependents of students on student visas by 100,000 by 2015.

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Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) yesterday introduced H.R. 2161, the Immigration Driving Entrepreneurship in America (IDEA) Act of 2011, which, as its title explains, aims at amending "the Immigration and Nationality Act to promote innovation, investment, and research in the United States."

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According to a notice published in the Federal Register today, the Department of State "is temporarily suspending the application of certain requirements governing program status and on-campus and off-campus employment for J-1 Libyan students". The temporary suspension, which according to the Federal Register notice "is necessary to mitigate the adverse impact upon these students due to political turmoil in their home country," is effective as of today, June 10, 2011. The notice suspends some requirements concerning course loads, duration of status, and employment.

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