Thursday, March 15, 2018

Chinese student visas may be restricted by Trump

In yet another stunning example of misguided and arbitrary decision-making, U.S. President Donald Trump has asked administration officials to impose restrictions on study visas for students from China. The rationale is part of Trump's broader pursuit of tariffs and other restrictions that he believes are justified in the face of unfair competition from China.

As we now know, Trump is not idol in his thoughts and frequently pushes his ideas through, even when informed officials oppose his ideas. In the case of China, political points will be won with Trump's base but potentially devastating outcomes await when China gets fed up with being attacked by Trump and his supporters and begins to retaliate by imposing its own trade restrictions.

One of the problems with the Twitter President is that Trump doesn't care, and in fact celebrates, that his speculation and transparent vetting of policy has an impact on its own. International student enrollment is already declining to competitors like Canada and Australia and the uncertainty created by Trump is likely to discourage Chinese students from even attempting to study in the U.S. The economic impact could be over 12 billion U.S. dollars and 10% of the doctoral degrees granted by U.S. universities. Executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, Stuart Anderson, warns, "If it ends up that Chinese students long term decide the U.S. is not a reliable place to come study and work, then that'll shut off a major avenue of talent both at universities and in the U.S. tech sector."

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