Feds: China Sends More Foreign Students to U.S. than Any Other Nation

AP Photo/Mel Evans

China remains the single largest beneficiary of the United States’ various student visa programs — sending more of its young nationals to the U.S. every year than Europe and Africa combined.

Every year, the U.S. issues nearly 800,000 F, M, and J visas to foreign students and their family members, according to State Department data. About 30 percent of F visas are awarded to Chinese nationals as well as about 23 percent of all M visas.

As Breitbart News has reported, there are nearly 500,000 Chinese students in the U.S. in any given year — more than any other nation — taking seats in university classrooms and looking to eventually obtain Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization to take entry-level jobs in white-collar professions.

In Fiscal Year 2019, nearly 117,000 Chinese nationals secured F visas to arrive in the U.S. as students. The only country close to sending as many of its nationals to the U.S. as students is India. Last year, more than 46,000 Indian nationals secured F visas.

China’s annual domination of U.S. foreign student visa programs is largely consistent. In fiscal year 2018, more than 110,200 Chinese nationals secured F visas. This is more than any country was able to secure by at least 50,000 visas.

On Sunday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) suggested the U.S. review its issuing of visas to Chinese students in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

“It’s a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the Chinese Communist Party’s brightest minds to go back to China to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people,” Cotton said.

“I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas that we give the Chinese nationals to come to the United States to study, especially at the post-graduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields,” Cotton said.

Like the F visa, China dominates the M and J visas, which bring foreign vocational education students and “cultural and educational exchange” volunteers and interns to the U.S. to take jobs as camp counselors, au pairs, research scholars, professors, and teachers.

In fiscal year 2019, China raked in more than 50,000 J visas and more than 2,200 M visas. For perspective, this means that Chinese nationals got as many M visas for the year as all Europeans were able to secure.

Chinese nationals, in fiscal year 2018, likewise secured more than 50,000 J visas and more than 2,400 M visas. China, the data shows, secures more J visas to send nationals to the U.S. in a single year than the entire continent of North America and Africa combined.

The U.S. student visa programs are only one element of the nation’s legal immigration system that greatly benefits China and its citizens. China remains the second-largest beneficiary of green cards with nearly one million Chinese nationals securing U.S. permanent residence in the last decade.

Similarly, the EB-5 visa program benefits China’s wealthy investor-class more than any other global demographic group. The program, rife with fraud and corruption, gives out about 10,000 green cards a year on the premise that foreign nationals invest in the U.S. In 2018, nearly half of all EB-5 visas went to Chinese nationals.

At the same time, Americans have become increasingly concerned with China’s dominance. The latest Pew Research Center survey reveals that more than nine-in-ten Americans say China’s “power and influence” is a “threat” to the U.S. About 62 percent of these Americans say China is a “major threat.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.


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