Medical &Health

US to let Chinese students start school year, easing Covid rules

The United States said Tuesday

it was easing remaining Covid-19 restrictions on international

students, giving the green light to Chinese nationals to start the

school year at US universities.

The move responds to persistent demands from US universities, which

increasingly rely financially on foreign students and count on China

for more than one-third of them — far more than any country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that students with valid

visas from China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa would qualify for

exemptions to entry bans in place over the past year due to concerns

of Covid transmission.

The decision is “in keeping with the Department of State’s

commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States,” a

statement said.

President Joe Biden’s administration in March similarly eased

restrictions for students from the European Union and Britain.

Under the latest exemption, students will need to have visas to

attend universities for classes starting on August 1 or later, and

cannot enter the United States more than one month beforehand.

All travelers will still be subject to the US requirement to present

a negative Covid test.

Foreign students — who generally pay full tuition — are a crucial

revenue source for US universities, which have been hit hard as Covid

forced much instruction to go online.

More than one million international students study in the United

States each year. They contributed $45 billion to the US economy in

2018, according to the Commerce Department.

It remains to be seen if enrollment will be hit not only by Covid

but by an increasingly tense atmosphere for Chinese students.

Former president Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of Chinese

students who have ties to the military, fearing they will steal US

knowhow, prompting concerns by some Asian-American activists that the

entire community was being painted with a broad brush of suspicion.

The United States has seen a wave of hate crimes against people of

Asian heritage, sometimes triggered by false association with

Covid-19.

India and South Korea are the second and third largest sources of

foreign students to the United States, and neither country faced

blanket bans over Covid.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)