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#Trumpwins ; No Ache Din for Indian students in the US

While the world is coming to terms with the US Elections 2016 exit polls indicating Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America, most Indian students in the US or those planning to go to the country, find themselves feeling insecure all of a sudden about their future education or career plans.

Since embarking on the presidential race in June last year, Trump has been the centre of many a controversies with respect to his viewpoints on issues ranging from immigration, gay rights, abortion laws and jobs among others. “We have to take back jobs from Japan, and Vietnam, and Mexico, and virtually everybody that’s taking our jobs and ruining our manufacturing base. And we have to put people to work,” he said in one of his campaigns. In line with this statement, he criticised the immigration laws and proposed to increase the prevailing wage rate for employee hired under the H1B visa policy, and change recruitment requirements that would give jobs to American workers as against their foreign counterparts. Perhaps that is what has resulted in a sense of insecurity among Indian students studying or planning to study in the US. Agreeing to this, Saurabh Thakur, a 2017 US college aspirant said, “ Job opportunities might severely plummet considering Trump’s earlier decision to raise the bar for H1B or even scratch it in its entirety, which is not good news.” Another aspirant Karan Shah was of the opinion that the OPT (Optional Practical Training) period would be reduced, thereby limiting the chance of getting an H1B visa for Indian / foreign students in the US (link).

Furthermore, a lot of Indian students were of the opinion that with Trump coming to power, America no longer portrays the image of an immigrant friendly nation. “America is a country of immigrants. There is a culture of unity and cross mingling of a variety of cultures and nationalities that makes America what it is today. However, now with Trump coming to power, he will come up with policies to curb this very aspect. It won’t be the same and in its very essence, it will be a huge change,” said Aditi Sarkar, who is pursuing her Phd in Statistics from University of Michigan.

Then there are those students who are so taken aback with the results that they are seriously contemplating Europe and Canada as alternate options to pursue higher education. New Delhi-based Devesh Maheshwari is one among them. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, (IIT-D) Maheshwari wanted to pursue his MS in the US, but with the recent unprecedented change in events, he is thinking of exploring other options.

Trump’s stand on higher education in the US during his presidential campaign has been a cause of concern for foreign students and Indians in particular. For students who take a loan to study in the US, the high loan amount can only be paid back by them securing a job in the US. While we are still some time away from major policy decisions with regards to changes in education policies and work visas, some students are concerned about how their future will shape up.

On the other hand, there are some students who don’t seem very perturbed by a possibly Trump government. They seemed indifferent towards whoever would win the US Elections 2016, and are now displaying some belief in Trump’s policy decisions. Find out what they had to say here.

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