A HUGE WAVE OF CHINESE STUDENTS IS APPROACHING
February 27, 2015
According to Director León Rodríguez from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B non-immigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status. This means these H-4 dependent visa holders are allowed to accept employment in the United States. Considering the continuously increasing numbers of Chinese overseas students studying and working in the United States, this more accommodating employment policy for new immigrants is likely to encourage another huge wave of Chinese students.
With 274,439 Chinese students in the United States in the 2013-2014 academic year, China is the largest source of foreign students according to the Institute of International Education, accounting for 31 percent of all international students. Moreover, a recent Hurun Report, a leading luxury magazine targeted at China’s high net worth individuals, showed that 4 out of 5 Chinese wealthy families (assets worth more than 10 million RMB) want to send their children to study abroad. In China, a new trend is sending kids to America to study even before university. In 2013, approximately 32,000 Chinese received visas for study at secondary schools in the US, up from just 639 in 2005, despite the fact that the number of Chinese age 18-to-22 declined from 121 million to 89 million this year.
Both governments have favorable policies to promote more overseas studies, especially the “100,000 Strong Foundation” launched by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, echoing President Barack Obama’s call to deepen Americans’ understanding of China through study abroad. President Obama highlighted a new mutually effective visa extension package, extending F-1 student visa to five years from one year and B-1 tourist visa to ten years from one year, during his visit to Beijing APEC summit in November last year.
In addition to improved immigration policies in the United States, more Chinese students are coming as a result of 1) the fast-growing middle class and its fast-growing disposable income; 2) tightened censorship on the Internet and the Education Ministry’s ruling out “western values” in college textbooks driving the young generation to study abroad to understand the rest of the world; 3) the increasing popularity of prep classes training like New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. helping more Chinese applicants become eligible for American schools.
Exporting more and more overseas students does not simply create a huge talent reserve unless the Chinese government can provide better job prospects to attract potential returnees. Evaluating the skills and suitability of the reported 354,000 Chinese students returned from overseas after graduation is vital to properly recruit and place talent. Only time will tell if the promise and potential of the new generation of Chinese students will be fully realized.
For more information on this topic, consult the following sources:
The Economist – “Georgia on their minds”
US Citizenship and Immigration Services – “DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence”
New York Times – “China Tells Schools to Suppress Western Ideas, With One Big Exception”
中国共产党新闻网 – “社科院专家：应严查围攻教育部长的教师和公知大V”
100 Thousand Strong – “加强美中关系，一位学生，一份力量: 来自各领域领导者的视点”
胡润百富 – “2014海外教育特别报告”
Compiled and edited by Stella Ran Zheng