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US to ease COVID-19 restrictions on Chinese students
Published on: 2021-04-28
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The United States said on Tuesday it was easing remaining COVID-19 restrictions on international students, giving the green light to Chinese nationals to start the school year at US universities.

The move responds to persistent demands from US universities, which increasingly rely financially on foreign students and count on China for more than one-third of them - far more than any country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that students with valid visas from China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa would qualify for exemptions to entry bans in place over the past year due to concerns of COVID-19 transmission.

Under the latest exemption, students will need to have visas to attend universities for classes starting on Aug 1 or later, and cannot enter the United States more than one month beforehand.

All travellers will still be subject to the US requirement to present a negative COVID-19 test.

Foreign students - who generally pay full tuition - are a crucial revenue source for US universities, which have been hit hard as COVID-19 forced much instruction to go online.

More than one million international students study in the United States each year. They contributed US$45 billion to the US economy in 2018, according to the Commerce Department.

It remains to be seen if enrolment will be hit not only by COVID-19 but by an increasingly tense atmosphere for Chinese students.





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