India overtakes China as top recipient of US student visas

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NEW DELHI: The number of Indian students studying in America grew by 19% in 2021-22, according to a US government report. This represents a marked improvement from previous figures which indicated a 13% drop in the number of Indian students studying in the United States in 2020-2021.

The figures come from the Open Doors report, an annual survey of international students published by the Institute of International Education.

India also overtook China to become the top recipient of US student visas this year, said Don Heflin, who is minister counselor for consular affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi.

According to Heflin, the United States issued a record 82,000 visas to Indian students during the months of June, July and August this year. This broke a previous record of 62,000 visas issued during the same period last year. In total, issued about 100,000 student visas this calendar year in India.

Antony Miranda, public diplomacy adviser for education and cultural affairs at the US Embassy, ​​said the US State Department issued about 580,000 student visas worldwide this year.

China, on the other hand, has lagged behind India due to its strict COVID-19 restrictions. Heflin said quarantine standards and travel restrictions made it more difficult for Chinese students to obtain visas. In a normal year, around 110,000 to 120,000 visas are issued to Chinese students while that number has dropped to around 50,000.

The 19% increase in the number of Indian students studying in America was largely due to graduate students, Miranda and Heflin revealed.

According to Miranda, new enrollments of international students increased by 80% in 2021-2022. Just under 950,000 international students in 2021-22 were studying in the United States this year. Miranda said math and computer science, engineering and business management were the three most popular global fields of study.

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