Below are the latest immigration updates from the United States and Canada.
- The U.S. is denying H-1B visas to top international employers.
- Chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border leads to leadership change.
- U.S. loses competitive edge among the world’s best colleges and universities.
- Canada is home to more resettled refugees than any other nation in the world.
- New Brunswick experiences population boom due to immigration population.
Read on for more about each of these important news items affecting immigrants and international students coming to North America.
H-1B Visa Denials Increase for Top Employers
A policy brief from the National Foundation for American Policy found that each of the country’s Top 27 H-1B employers saw an increase in visa application denials between 2015 and 2019.
In that time, H-1B visa denial rates for initial employment increased from 6 percent to 32 percent. Denials for continuing employment also increased from 3 percent to 18 percent.
Turmoil at the Southern Border
Turmoil intensified on the southern border this past week, with reports criticizing the conditions at a Texas border station causing Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to evacuate hundreds of children from the facility, only to return them days later.
Observers speculate that the crisis may have spurred the resignation of the CBP’s acting commissioner, who will be replaced by the current acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Competing bills were introduced in the House and the Senate to address the deteriorating conditions at the border. Because they diverge in their views about how much power the executive office should hold over allocated funds, it is possible that neither bill will move forward quickly.
ICE Reinforces Rules for Student Visa Forms
ICE issued a statement earlier this month insisting that universities must only release Form I-20s–a document necessary when applying for student visas–directly to prospective students (or, if they are minors, to their parents or guardians).
This statement reinforces a longstanding policy that I-20 documents should not be handled or distributed by third-party recruiters or education agents. Citing concerns over fraud, security, and privacy, ICE makes it clear that recruiters have “no proper role” to play in the handling of I-20s.
Surveys suggest that concerns about the visa application process are high on the list of problems currently deterring international students from applying to schools in the U.S.
U.S. Higher Education Rankings Decline
While U.S. institutions still dominate the top ranks in the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings–U.S. institutions hold five of the Top 10 rankings–overall, HEIs in the U.S. registered their worst performance in over a decade.
The rankings of 72.6 percent of the country’s 157 ranked institutions declined, while competing institutions in China and Australia saw significant gains. Top concerns for U.S. institutions include noted declines in academic reputation, international-domestic student ratios, and student-faculty ratios.
Most Resettled Refugees in the World
Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in the world in 2018, according to recent data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This marks the first time since 1980 that the U.S. has not led the world in refugee resettlements.
Canada also resettled more refugees per capita than any other country, at 756 refugees per million residents last year, which is more than 10 times higher than the U.S. The majority of refugees resettled in Canada came from the Middle East, at 55 percent, compared to less than 1 percent in the U.S.
Population Boom in New Brunswick
New Brunswick is experiencing the “longest and largest” expansion of its population in nearly 30 years, reaching a record of 773,020 residents in 2019. International immigrants are largely responsible for that growth. In fact, in the first three months of 2019, immigrants accounted for all of the province’s population growth.
However, the province’s population growth still lags behind that of the rest of the country, in large part due to an aging population and low birth rate.
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