Why Joe Biden’s win in the US is great news for Indian students

December 14, 2020 5:18 AM

US election results will increase the attractiveness of studying in the US

Streamlined Green Card process expected: Biden may make employment-based immigration visas (Green Cards) more market-specific. (Representational image: PTI)

By Pavithra Srinivasan, 

Joe Biden (of the Democratic Party) will be the next American President. What does this mean for study-abroad plans of Indian students? We expect that, under him, the US will once again become an attractive hotspot for Indian students—particularly in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The Democrats are expected to usher in favourable work and immigration policies.

This news comes as a relief to Indian students and job-seekers, especially since in recent years there was some uncertainty related to visas under the administration of President Donald Trump. As a result, some students gravitated towards Canada as a more welcoming destination.

Some key policy changes expected around work visas and immigration are:

More H-1B visa approvals expected: Earlier this year, Biden promised to revoke the H-1B visa restrictions introduced by Trump. Biden had said: “He (Trump) just ended H-1B visas the rest of this year. That will not be in my administration. The people on the company visa have built this country.” One can expect more H-1B visa approvals to qualified applicants.

Streamlined Green Card process expected: Biden may make employment-based immigration visas (Green Cards) more market-specific. The number of such visas is capped annually at only 140,000, resulting in challenges for employers and employees; market-specific approach is better as it’s driven by economy’s needs.

Biden plans to exempt PhD graduates from the annual work visa quota in STEM fields. He believes PhD graduates should be given a Green Card with their degree to maintain America’s competitiveness, particularly in technology and innovation.

Another implication of Biden’s policies can be to remove country-wise quota system for obtaining Green Cards. The current system has a 7% annual ceiling cap per country of origin. India has one of the largest numbers of applicants for Green Cards (91% in one category as per a Congressional Research Service report). This results in long waiting times for Indians. The removal of this quota will significantly benefit Indian applicants.

We expect that with more favourable immigration policies, the increased brand value of a US degree and more job opportunities in the world’s largest economy, the number of Indian students applying to the US will increase in the coming years.

The author is founder, Galvanize Test Prep. Views are personal

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