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Legal Analysis of UK and US Immigration System

The UK provides four types of student visas that are short-term study visa, general student visa (Tier 4) and child student visa (Tier 4)[1]. The US also provides two types of student visa that are F1 student visa and M1 student visa[2]. These different types of student visa provided by UK and US have different features and require different eligibilities. The short-term study visa is for students offered a short-term course in the UK. This visa lasts for a very short period that is 6 months or in some cases for 11 months[3]. Tier 4 visa that provides many other benefits in comparison to short-term study visa[4]. One of the benefits of Tier 4 Visa is the permit of bringing family members. In comparison to students’ visa policy of UK, the policies of the US differs. The students obtaining F1 visa can stay in the US up to 60 days after the completion of their courses[5]. The staying of students in the US after the completion of their course can be extended if their application to stay and work for a period is approved under the OPT program[6]. The M1 visa is for students enrolled for vocational or non-academic courses. The holders of M1 visa not permitted to work during the course of their studies. Thus, the mentioned visa policies of both UK and US provide a brief idea of differences in the policies.

As identified in the Tier 4 visa policy of UK permits students to bring family members with them[7]. According to Diana[8], this is very important from the perspective of students who are leaving their home to study abroad. The support of family members plays a very important role in comparison to students who are to stay alone. The family support for students assists in better performances in academics. The students feel more secure in foreign countries when they are allowed to bring their family members with them. In the US visa policy, the students obtaining the F1 visa can extend their stay in the US if their application to stay and work for a period is approved under the OPT program. In the view of Gordon et al.[9], this provides an opportunity for students to establish their career in the developed country. The extension to stay and work help in enhancing the working experience of students after the completion of their courses. This is more important for students who are ambitious to establish their career in the developed countries. However, in the UK visa policy, students are not allowed to stay in the country after the completion of their courses[10]. The short-term study visa of UK does not permit students to stay in the country after the completion of their courses. This takes away the opportunity of students to explore more and establish their career or gain a working experience in the UK. Diana[11] further argued that the students holding M1 visa are not allowed to work during their courses. In such a case, students fail to manage their academic expenses and had to rely on the financial aids from their parents. In case if due to any reason family fails to provide further financial aid then students have to leave their courses. Gordon[12], on the other hand, determined that the recent political changes have increased the inadequacy in the law of UK. In this way, he criticised that the decision of Britain to exit from European Union had brought many changes in the visa policies of students. Certain changes are that the level of courses that student can study is raised and the entry criteria for students is made tougher. Even the entitlements to work and sponsor dependants is limited[13]. The important inadequacy is the decision for students to leave the country soon after the completion of their courses. This inadequacy influences the rate of students’ immigration. The rise in the level of courses that student can study has decreased the chances of many students to enrol themselves in the University of UK. The other inadequacy that is tougher entry criteria for students has made it more difficult for students those who have less knowledge of English language[14]. The students from different countries have the language barrier as their weakness; however, the language should not be the medium to measure the depth of knowledge. Thus, students should be provided with an opportunity to enrol themselves based on their academic knowledge and skills.

As per the view of John, the inadequacies of US visa policy, especially after the beginning of Trump’s reign, is also required to be analysed[15]. However, the changes in immigrants’ visa policy began after the horrifying and tragic incident of 9/11. According to Flavia[16], among the nine identified hijackers, two of them held the student visa for an aviation school of Florida. This fact changed a view of people and administration, as a result, the review of America’s liberal policies towards migration was called. The call for strong immigration policies had an outcome as a creation of the USA Patriot Act. This Patriot Act resulted in the creation of many harsh immigration policies focusing on foreign students. Thus, one incident completely changed the immigration policies for the visa of foreign students. This created a major difference in visa policies of UK and US for foreign students. The US started enforcing very harsh policies in comparison to the UK. According to Flavia, these policies affected, affecting and are tend to affect the turnover of foreign students in the US. This decrease in turnover of foreign student has an impact on the diversity of education. The primary inadequacy of US visa policy in contemporary period is the no permission for the M1 visa holders to work during the period of their courses. As per Michael[17], the application for M1 visa holders is more difficult as they have to show pieces of evidence of their strength of paying all living cost during their course of study that has to approve by authority. This makes it difficult for students who all do not have good financial support from their family. They fail to get the visa, as they could not meet the eligibilities required in the process of application. This takes away the opportunity of good students to study in universities of US if they do not have much better financial support from their family.

As stated by Leslie[18], the other backdrop of this inadequacy is that students are not able to gain any working experiences during their courses. These working experiences play an important role later in the interviews for jobs. The lack of opportunity to improve the working experience makes students scare of unemployment in this competitive market. Therefore, students opt to select the countries that enable students to get working experiences after or during their course of studies. The other major issue of student visa policy for foreign students is harsh policies such as harsh scrutiny of students during their application process. As mentioned by Flavia, the‘Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002’ is the example of harsh immigration policies for foreign students. This act was designed for improvement of the ability to track students of the foreign country while they stayed in the United States. The foreign students have to suffer many difficulties because of this act and feel insecure. As stated in the work of Flavia, in the total of foreign visitors that visit the country, foreign students account for only two per cent[19]. Thus, it indicates that the government may be fighting in the wrong direction. Hence, making harsh policies for foreign students’ visa in the support of fighting terrorism may not be appropriate.


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