NEW YORK: Malaysian students interested in furthering their studies at American universities will face a more restrictive US visa policy.
The new policy announced in August by Trump could have a deterrent effect on prospective students wanting to enter the US for higher education.
Asian students, including from Malaysia, find it attractive to study subjects such as engineering, computer sciences, highly specialised branches of medicine, etc. in the US.
The Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, attracts a large number of Asian students, particularly from China, India and, increasingly, from Malaysia.
China, India and South Korea account for some 56.1% of all foreign students studying in the US.
「After I complete my education, I would like to gain some practical experience by working with a US company for sometime before I return to Malaysia. Will the new visa policy deny me what has been a long tradition followed by foreign students who are happy to get some practical training before returning to their native country?」, a Malaysian student who wanted to remain anonymous told Bernama.
The largest number of students in the US in the last two years were from China (363,431) and India (196,271).
Malaysia, with 8,271 students, was the second largest source of students from the Asean region, after Indonesia at 8,650.
Fearing the new restrictions would deter foreign students from coming to the US, 65 US universities, including big names such as Harvard and MIT, have come together to challenge Trump’s new restrictive visa policy governing foreign students in the court.
They warn that the new restrictions will hurt the country’s education system, with foreign students preferring higher education in Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.
Last week, Harvard released an 「amicus brief」 voicing objections against US visa policy changes announced in August restricting visa overstay rules for foreign students, and opposed US revision of rules for calculating unlawful stay time for visa-holding students.
The amicus brief supports Guilford College and others in the lawsuit against US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen.
The plaintiffs called for a temporary hold on new immigration policies that place restrictions on overstaying a visa.
Under longstanding immigration policies, anyone who stays more than six months after the visa expiry can be forced to return to their country of origin, and clapped with a three-year ban from the US.
Under the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can do away with the six-month period, and one’s stay can be considered illegal a day after the completion of studies or after the visa expires.