New US immigrations measures to affect Malawian students

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Malawian students are expected to be among other nationals affected by the proposed new US immigration measures.

Many African students in the US will have to reapply for visas in the middle of their degree courses.

A plan issued by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) outlines changes to student visas that have previously been issued for the duration of a course.

The proposed rule comes months after the administration announced, then rescinded, restrictions that would have forced international students to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switched to online-only courses.

Facing legal challenges and widespread criticism, officials walked back that proposal. Now, that rule applies only to new students rather than to students already in the US.

About 1.1 million foreign students were in the United States during the 2018-2019 academic year. 

Under the proposed change, students and others would be admitted into the US up to the end date of their program, not to exceed four years.

People from countries with higher visa overstay rates would be issued visas for a maximum of two years before they would have to apply for an extension. That could affect students from more than 40 countries, according to a CNN analysis of DHS data.

The department is also proposing a decrease in the amount of time students will have to prepare for departure from 60 to 30 days, as well as adding biometric data collection requirements.

Besides Malawi, the BBC reports that the new measures will also affect students from Burkina Faso, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Cameroon, the DRC, Gabon, The Gambia, Liberia and Uganda.

There is no immediate comment from Malawian authorities on the matter.


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