International students and their families contributed approximately $41 billion to our national economy in 2018-2019 alone… College and universities face a potential 25 percent decline in international student enrollment for the fall 2020 term
we urge your respective departments to communicate and share plans to address the expected increase in demand for visa services, including how U.S. consulates will be able to prioritize and process applications that include F-1 and J-1 visas. We believe several options are available to your agencies including the ability to waive certain interview requirements, prioritize the rescheduling of appointments that were canceled during COVID-19, and create a timely application and renewal process for professors, researchers, scientists, and those that are needed on U.S. campuses when instruction is expected to resume.
we urge the administration to publicly clarify that OPT will remain fully intact so we send the right messages abroad about the U.S. as an attractive destination for international students. As countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, China and Australia bolster immigration policies to attract and retain international students, the last thing our nation should do in this area is make ourselves less competitive by weakening OPT. The program is essential to the many international students who desire not just to study in the U.S. but also have a post completion training experience.