Decline in the number of Indian Students heading to the US
Courtesy : Times of India
Once the dream destination for almost all students, the number of international students heading to the US for education has seen a sharp decline this year. The drop in numbers comes in the wake of President Trump’s controversial rhetoric on immigration, the US government’s decision to tighten up the H1B regulations and the recent surge in hate crimes targeted at minorities and people of color.
A survey of 250 colleges conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE) has found out that four out of ten colleges in the US have seen a decline in the number of international applicants, most of them coming from the Middle East and Muslim majority countries. However, the survey also points out a drop in the number of applicants from India and China, both of which contribute to nearly 70% of the international students heading to the US.
Dip in Indian numbers
Until last year, Indian students were the among the fastest growing student groups in the US. A record 200,000 students attended American universities in the year 2016. However, findings from the IIE survey indicate that the number of graduate applications from India declined by 15 percent this year while those of undergraduate dropped by 26 percent. The proposed changes in H1B visa and recent racial attacks targeted at Indians have been a major cause of worry among Indian students and this marks a reversal in the trend of Indians going to the US for higher studies.
Indians working in the US usually secure employment under the H1 non-immigrant temporary visa category. However, president Trump’s ‘America First’ rhetoric and the US government’s recent announcements about the proposed new changes in the H1B system has made many Indian students wary of going to the US under the pretext of facing risk with career prospects. A few weeks ago, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) issued a fresh memo stating that computer programmers would be no longer eligible under the H1B visa category, which is commonly used by software companies to hire Indian engineers.
. The Feb 22nd killing of Srinivas Kuchibotla, an Indian engineer working in the US made headlines across the world, where the killer told him to ‘Get out of my country’. Additional reports indicated similar such occurrences of hate crimes on Indians across the US which has made safety another important cause of concern among Indian students and parents alike.
Although the US still remains as the most preferred choice for Indian students planning to study abroad, many of them have started exploring alternate options such as Australia, Canada, Ireland and Singapore which are known for their immigrant friendly policies along with offering quality education.