The student visa from the United States for Bangladeshis has increased fourfold in a decade, while the issuance of both immigrant and non-immigrant visas rose sharply in recent years, according to data available from the US State Department.
A total of 3,30,962 non-immigrant and immigrant visas have been issued since the 2012 financial year, with a maximum of 42,2822 visas in 2013–2014. The lowest number of 16,030 visas was issued in 2020–2021, during the Covid pandemic.
The US financial year runs from October 1 to September 30.
Around two-thirds of the 3.3 lakh visas were in the non-immigrant category, the data showed.
The data showed that 71,519 Bangladeshi students got admission between 2012-13 and 2021-22 while only 28,060 students got admission between 2002-03 and 2011-12.
At least 10,597 international students from Bangladesh got admission in the 2021–22 financial year, a 23.25 per cent year-over-year increase, while 8,598 students got admission in 2020–21, 8,838 Bangladeshi students got admission in 2019–20, and 8,249 in 2018–19.
Among the students who got admission in 2021–2022, the data showed 38.8 per cent studied engineering, 20.3 per cent computer science, and 16.7 per cent physical and life sciences.
Some 6.1 per cent of students studied business or management, while the rest studied the humanities and social sciences, among others.
Of the students in 2021–2022, the data showed that 70.3 per cent were graduate students and 15.7 were undergrads. The remaining 13 per cent of students were in Optional Practical Training and 1 per cent were in non-degree programmes.
The number of graduate students saw a 29.9 per cent year-over-year increase in 2021–2022, in comparison to 2020–2021, while undergraduates saw a 9.4 per cent year-over-year increase.
The financial year 2017-18 saw 7,496 admissions, compared to 7,143 Bangladeshi students in 2016-17, some 6,513 students in 2015-16, and 5,455 in 2014-15.
The number was 4,802 in 2013–14 and 3,828 in 2012–13, according to Open Doors Data sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education.
‘Over the past decade, the number of Bangladeshi students in the US has increased from over 2,800 during the 2010–11 academic year to approximately 10,600 during the 2021–22 school year,’ Haynes Mahoney, acting spokesperson for the US Embassy in Dhaka, told New Age on Thursday.
Bangladesh currently ranks 13th among sending countries of origin for international students to the US.
‘The United States remains the top destination for Bangladeshi students. From engaging in ground-breaking research to enriching campus life through cultural programmes, Bangladeshi students and researchers continue to leave their mark across the United States,’ Mahoney said
Some 948,519 international students from more than 200 places of origin studied at US higher education institutions during the 2021–22 academic year, a 4 per cent increase compared to the previous academic year.
International students enrolled for the first time at a US college or university soared by 80 per cent year-over-year, reaching 261,961 students in 2021–22.
China and India represent the majority (52 per cent) of all international students in the US.
China remains the top sending country in 2021–22, with 290,086 students on US campuses (-9 per cent year-over-year), while India, the second top-sending country, sent 199,182 international students in 2021–22, an increase of 19 per cent year-over-year.
Bangladesh, Pakistan, Spain, and Colombia reached all-time highs in international students in the US, according to Open Doors Data.
Among the South Asian countries, 11,779 Nepali students got admission in 2021–2022, while 8,772 others came from Pakistan.
The US issues 72 types of visa globally.
On May 24, US secretary of state Antony Blinken announced the new visa policy to support Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.
Under this new policy, the United States will be able to restrict visas for any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh. Immediate family members, meaning spouses and children, are subject to these same visa restrictions, US authorities said.