Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America has been infamous for making controversial statements. While for most Indians, his brash comments have made it to empty coffee table conversations, in the past few days, something President Trump said has become the hot topic of a lot of people’s concerns. On January 27, 2017, Donald Trump proposed the H1B Visa Bill that affects several Indians traveling to the US.
Taking into consideration the H1B visa, it affects undergrad and postgrad students quite differently as the number of years they spend in university differs. Students who go to the US on the F1 visa spend anywhere between four to six years and get an additional Optional Practical Training (OPT) period during which they can work. For post-grad students, the two-year course is followed by one year of OPT after which, if they wish to stay in the country, they must seek the H1B visa which permits them to work with a certain company for a period of three years.
Career Counsellor Neeraj Mandhana says, “Most students who go to the US for a graduation course usually belong to affluent families. A lot of parents wish for their children to have that experience of studying abroad and living by themselves. Some want their children to travel and seek exposure before taking over the family business. In these cases, the H1B visa will not affect them.” However, when it comes to considering students who travel to the States for post-graduation, they, on most occasions, are keen to look for jobs after completion of the course. Mandhana adds, “Not getting hired after spending the lakhs of rupees they’ve saved is something everyone wants to avoid. And as far as PhD students are concerned, most of them are on fully funded grants and after their research is over, they anyway plan on moving back.”
On an average, international students with a master’s degree get paid anything above $60,000 per annum. However, with the proposed bill, chances are that the per annum income for immigrants will be increased to $130,000 may be considered for H1B visa. Most freshers aren’t offered packages that pay as well. Akhil Daswani, a career counsellor says, “It’s not impossible to get a package over $100,000 but it’s tough. It’s often the brightest kids from the IVY league colleges who get lucrative offers. However, if the salary is hiked so drastically immediately, students will not apply to most universities as tuition fees are exceptionally high and this will eventually affect the economy of the US in a negative way.”
Students are confused and frazzled about what should their next step be. Counsellor Pratibha Jain says, “Students who intend to apply for Fall 2017 should go ahead with their applications. It’s better to apply to universities and wait for a confirmation than to not apply at all and then regret it.” However Daswani, on the other hand, says, “Along with applying to the US, students should keep their options open and look at countries like Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK and Australia. However, the US does have some of the best business schools in the world and if one is keen on studying at a university only then they must wait it out till new announcements are made or till the matter subsides.”
At the end of the day, students must wait for at least a couple of weeks before taking drastic steps like dropping their US applications or applying to too many universities in other countries. If finances aren’t a problem for the candidate and all they’re looking for is to study in the US and move back to India, then there is very little to worry about. However, we at PagaLGuY wish each one of you all the very best and hope that the situation pans out in favour of students traveling to the US for education.