US Starts Vetting Social Media for Study Visas

US Starts Vetting Social Media for Study Visas

The US has started requesting for the social media handles of international students while they apply for the country's study visa. According to the government, this is part of a vetting process that will protect Americans.

NAFSA, on the other hand, has said that this new screening will negatively affect the country's standing in international education. Stakeholders also fear that this move will cause more delays in visa issuance.

This screening began on May 31 when the US started demanding their profiles on up to 20 different social media platforms.

A spokesperson of the Department of State said in a statement that the new screening is to ensure that the security of the country will not be threatened by the coming of that traveler or immigrant.

Asking for the social media info of applicants help confirm their identities. According to the spokesperson, more identifiers will be included later.

But Jill Welch, the deputy executive director for public policy at NAFSA, has said that these additional screening requirements will have a negative effect on scientific collaborations and higher education in the country.

This update is coming from President Trump's executive order in 2017 to implement uniformity in the screening and vetting of applicants.

US to Soon Adopt a Point-based Immigration System

Recently too, Trump announced an immigration plan which will introduce a point-based feature to America's immigration system. It will also give priority to the immediate families of US citizens and new immigrants. At the same time, it will ensure the integrity of the country's border.

The president of the AIRC, George F. Kacenga, who also holds a position in the Purdue University of Northwest as executive director of Global Engagement said that the US Visa application process already is laden with complications and delays and that this new screening will only make it worse.

According to him, the US is getting to the point where these rules begin to make it a less attractive study destination as international students might start to shift their attention to other destinations.

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