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US Universities register decline in Indian Applicants due to rising Hate Crimes, concerns over changes in visa policies by Trump Administration

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Indian Students (representational image) Wikimedia

Washington, March 27, 2017: The universities in the US have registered a decline in applications from Indian students following rising hate crimes and concerns over potential changes in visa policies by the Trump administration, according to a survey.

The survey was carried out by a coalition of six higher education associations in the US and involved over 250 US colleges and universities.

According to the initial findings of the survey, there was a 26 percent decline in undergraduate applications and 15 percent drop in graduate application from India for the new acedemic session beginning this autumn.

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A complete and final version of “Open Doors 2016” will be available by March 30.

Open Doors is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the US, and US students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.

The survey also said India and China currently make up 47 per cent of US international student enrolment, with almost half a million Indian and Chinese students studying in the US.

From China, there was a 25 per cent drop in undergraduate applications and 32 per cent drop in graduate applications.

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There was also a great deal of concern from students and families all over the globe, with the highest number of concerns emanating from the Middle East (79 percent), Asia (36 percent) and Latin America (34 percent).

The most frequently noted concerns of international students and their families, as reported by institution-based professionals, included perceptions of a rise in student visa denials at US embassies and consulates in China, India and Nepal. The idea that the US was now less welcoming to individuals from other countries.

There were concerns that benefits and restrictions around visas could change, especially around the ability to travel, re-entry after travel, and employment opportunities, said the report.

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Many people feared that President Trump’s travel ban order might widen to include additional countries.

The survey was conducted by American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the National Association for College Admission Counselling, International Association for College Admission Counselling, the Institute of International Education, Association of International Educators, and the College Board. (IANS)

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Visa Applicants to Provide Social Media Details to take Admission in US Universities

Previously, detailed information on personal activity was only sought from applicants who were deemed a possible security risk

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FILE - A woman checks her documents as she walks past the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China, May 6, 2011. VOA

Nearly everyone applying for a visa to enter the United States will have to provide their social media accounts as well as other detailed personal information as part of the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting” process for all immigrants and visitors.

The U.S. State Department says it has updated its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms to require applicants to provide five years’ worth of social media user names, telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status. They will also be asked whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.

The new rules, first proposed in 2018, are expected to affect nearly 15 million people, including those applying to immigrate to the U.S., as well as those hoping to study, do business, work or just visit. Only applicants for diplomatic and official visas could be exempt from the new rules.

Previously, detailed information on personal activity was only sought from applicants who were deemed a possible security risk. An estimated 65,000 applicants per year fell into that category.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the State Department said in a release.

social media details
FILE – A man has his fingerprints taken electronically while taking part in a visa application demonstration at the consular section of the Embassy of the United States in Lima, Peru, October 3, 2014. VOA

Besides the social media platforms based in the U.S. like Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube, applicants will also be asked about activity of international platforms, such as China’s Douban, QQ and Sina Weibo.

Applicants do have the option of saying they have no social media accounts. But, the State Department has warned that lying about social media use would have “serious immigration consequences” for applicants, The Hill reported.

Companies in China that help students navigate the process of getting into U.S. colleges and universities are telling their clients to avoid posting sensitive terms such as “maternity hotel,” “give birth to babies in the U.S.,” “guns,” “green card,” immigrant,” “buy property in the U.S.” on their social media platforms, The South China Morning Post reported.

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The American Civil Liberties Union has voiced opposition to the new requirements since they were first proposed last year.

“There is also no evidence that such social media monitoring is effective or fair, especially in the absence of criteria to guide the use of social media information in the visa adjudication process,” the ACLU said at the time. (VOA)