The Government of the United States is seeking new guidelines that could restrict some International students studying in the country, including those from Nigeria, from acquiring admission for more than two-year period.
If given the approval, the new guidelines from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will barred students from four-year courses in the United States.
However, it is not certain, when this new policy will take effect, and it is also unclear whether it will affect International students currently in the U.S, despite their present document status.
The current policy provides legal grounds for students with valid status document to proceed with their study in the U.S, whether or not their student visas have expired.
But the DHS, in the new measures published in the U.S Federal register and scheduled for announcement on Friday, proposed a ”maximum admission period of up to 2 years for certain students”, including those from Nigeria.
Countries targeted in the new policy are those on the U.S “State sponsor of terrorism list” and students from countries that visitors have overstay rate of more than 10 percent.
In the DHS 2019 report, Nigeria was placed in-country overstay rate at 11.12 percent; with most African countries having the 10 percent maximum rate.
The DHS explained that, the two year-limits is based on factors that it identified as “involving national security and public safety concerns.”
It said: “A key goal of shifting aliens in F status from D/S to an admission for a fixed time period is to provide pre-defined time periods for immigration officers to evaluate whether a non immigrant has maintained his or her status.
“If an immigration officer finds that an alien violated his or her status prior to or during the course of an EOS adjudication and denied the EOS request, the alien generally would begin accruing unlawful presence the day after issuance of the denial.”
The DHS further added, that the proposed rule seeks to reduce instances in which F, J, and I non immigrant- mostly students and exchange visitors-“unlawfully remain in the United States after their programme or practical training ends.”
“Depending on the extent of unlawful presence accrual, an alien may become inadmissible upon departing the United States and will be ineligible for benefits for which admissibility is required, such as adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident.”
During the Coronavirus lockdown, the Trump administration, in July, was forced to abandon a plan to strip international students of their visas, if they are not required to attend some classes in persons.