The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting United States policies related to travel and immigration restrictions continue to severely restrict the flow of international students to the U.S. While universities have rapidly adapted to ensure safe instruction for domestic students, many international students are unable to enter the country to begin or resume their studies. The consequences of these barriers – for both U.S. universities and the international students they serve – are significant and far-reaching (Higher Ed Immigration Portal).
International students are experiencing a number of barriers as they plan for the Fall 2021 semester. To respond, offices across college and university campuses are going to need to work together. This will not be an effort that can be done by an international student office alone, and international students will be best served by institutions that incorporate international student issues into their comprehensive planning for Fall 2021.
Immigration response teams or task forces based within specific higher education institutions are well-positioned to help institutions with this work, as they are often already working to help institutions understand federal regulations and policy, advocate for necessary changes, and adapt institutional policies when necessary. They will also help position institutions to consider international student issues on an ongoing basis.
To help, the Immigration Response Team created a handout to assist institutions: "Supporting International Students for Fall 2021: Coordinating Across Campus." This handout was shared as part of “Will International Students Return in Fall 2021? A Vital Resource at Risk”, an action alert briefing co-sponsored by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and NAFSA.