China remains America’s top overall source of international students, but Indians got nearly twice as many student visas as Chinese in the first seven months of this year, an analysis of non-immigrant visas shows. immigrant issued by the US Department of State. to July.
The Indian Express reviewed monthly visa reports (available on the official website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs) and found that 77,799 Indian students were granted F-1 visas between January and July, compared to 46,145 Chinese students. The majority of US student visas, within a calendar year, are typically issued in May, June, and July.
The F-1 category is a nonimmigrant visa for those wishing to study at a university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, language training program, or other academic institutions in the States. -United. M-1 is another student visa category for foreign nationals who wish to study at professional or other recognized non-academic institutions, other than language training programs, in the United States. For this analysis, The Indian Express only considered F-1 data, as visas issued in this bracket account for more than 90% of US student visa issuances each year.
Although the absolute number of Chinese students traveling to America for higher education has been declining since the start of the pandemic, China still accounts for the largest share of international students currently studying in the United States. Indian students come second and South Korean students third.
In 2021, 99,431 Chinese students received F-1 visas compared to 87,258 Indians and 16,865 South Koreans. In 2020, 21,908 Indian students received F-1 visas compared to 4,853 Chinese students. US embassy officials last year described the trends in the 2020 dataset as a “Covid hit”. Lockdowns then hampered international travel while China imposed severe movement restrictions on its citizens.
International students make a significant contribution to the US economy, as most pay much higher tuition fees than US citizens. In 2019, before the pandemic hit, international students contributed $44 billion to the US economy. Of this amount, about $16 billion came from Chinese students and nearly $8 billion from Indian students.
To return overall international student attendance to pre-pandemic levels, the U.S. government has taken several steps this year to simplify the student visa application process, including opening thousands of appointment slots and expanding maintenance waiver options. Under the new visa guidelines, students who have previously held a US visa can apply using the drop box service to bypass the in-person interview.
Responding to The Indian Express’ email seeking comment on the current year’s F-1 visa trend, US Embassy New Delhi spokesperson Chris Elms wrote “We don’t have anything other than the data on travel.state.gov.”
Another country that attracts a lot of foreign students, the UK has also seen a surge in the number of Indians getting student visas compared to their Chinese counterparts. The latest UK immigration statistics released this week showed that in the period July 2021-June 2022 the country issued 4,86,868 sponsored study visas. Indian nationals made up 1,17,965 of them, an increase of 89% over the previous year. Chinese nationals, meanwhile, have obtained 1,15,056 study visas.
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Compared to 2019, the increase in the number of study visas granted to Indians stands at 215%, while those granted to Chinese students fell by 4%. The report does not address the reasons for the rise and fall in the share of Indian and Chinese nationals in this category. A spokesperson for the British High Commission said: ‘We would not like to speculate on the reasons.