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Brief updates re the YPD and international student visas

June 24, 2020

In this message: Report released about the Yale Police Department and info re the latest Presidential Proclamation affecting international students.

Dear graduate students,

A brief message to update you on two important topics:

A report was released yesterday by President Salovey’s office about the Yale Police Department. I know there is a great deal of concern about how Yale polices the campus and the community, and with that in mind, I recommend you read a statement from Yale’s leadership about the University’s commitment to reshape major aspects of security at Yale. Of particular interest is the special note from our chief of police, Ronnell Higgins. An examination of policing is a crucial part of the movement for racial justice in this country. The timing is right for us to address how, why, and for whom we provide security in our communities.

OISS just sent an email to all Graduate and Professional (G&P) international students and to recent graduates who are on Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please note that the Presidential Proclamation issued Monday evening doesn’t immediately affect our international students, although it may understandably be a source of anxiety. If you haven’t yet seen the message from OISS Executive Director Ann Kuhlman, please read it below.

Yours,

Lynn Cooley
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
C.N.H. Long Professor of Genetics
Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

________________________________________


Dear G&P International Students and Recent Graduates,

On June 22nd the White House announced a new Presidential Proclamation, which OISS has summarized in this announcement. The immediate impact of the Proclamation, which remains in effect until December 31, 2020 (and with the possibility of extension and modification) will be on individuals who are outside the U.S. in need of an H-1 visa to enter the U.S., as well as L-1 and L-2 visas and certain J-1 visas. The restriction on the J-1 visas does not cover the categories most commonly used by higher education, including the J-1 student and J-1 research scholar categories. If you currently have J-1 student status the proclamation will not affect your status.

If you are a graduate with H-1B status or are in the process of securing H-1B status, you should consult with your employer about any possible impact from the Proclamation. The Proclamation does not affect H-1B employees currently in the U.S. or H-1 B employees outside the U.S. with a valid H-1B visa stamp issued prior to June 24, 2020. 

Additionally, there is no mention in the proclamation of new restrictions for international students or international students on OPT, thanks in part to extensive advocacy by Yale, other institutions, the higher education communities, as well as the business community.

The Proclamation does ask government agencies “to make substantial measures to ensure that those who have already been admitted, or are seeking admission, on an EB-2 immigrant visa, EB-3 immigrant visa, or H-1B nonimmigrant visa do not limit opportunity for U.S. workers.” It is unclear whether this will result in new rule making, or tighter scrutiny of current regulations. It is also possible, but not confirmed, that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will in the coming year seek changes to F-1 OPT through the rulemaking process. Unlike a presidential proclamation which becomes effective immediately, rulemaking has a defined process that spans over a longer period and creates room for public comments.

Yale is working closely with national higher education associations to monitor any future immigration proposals. Please know that we will continue to advocate on behalf of international students to ensure that student and scholar regulations support the educational aspirations of our important international community. In a statement posted on the Yale in the World website late yesterday, Yale’s Vice President for Global Strategy Pericles Lewis, restated Yale’s dedication to its international community: “International faculty, researchers and students, including those engaged in scientific scholarship, are of critical importance to the United States and to Yale, and our steadfast commitment to them is unwavering. We will continue to advocate for government policies that support the ability of international students and scholars to study and work in the United States.”

We know these are uncertain, and often difficult, times for international students, whether you have remained in the U.S. or traveled back home. It is equally trying for those newly admitted students hoping to begin their studies in the fall. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your OISS adviser. We have also compiled a list of other university resources you might turn to for support. As you can imagine the challenge (and frustration) for OISS is that we do not have all the answers and we are awaiting guidance from various federal agencies. As we have been doing since March, we will share any relevant and confirmed information with you on the OISS website. Just know that we are here to support you and we will always stand beside you.

Stay well and safe,

Ann Kuhlman
OISS Executive Director