Update on August 2017: A lot of you have asked me regarding the latest proposed changes to the immigration law. This is called the RAISE Act. I would like to refrain from talking about this at this point, as it has very little support from Congress; and has a very small chance of becoming law. The Democrats have proposed several similar changes that did not go anywhere. Even if it does pass through Congress, it will look very difficult from what is said. My recommendation is to not get carried away by articles in the Indian media; and contact proper US immigration consultants if you want to get the real news.
Donald Trump has been in office for 100 days in 2017; and we have a better idea of what his policies would mean for Americans and for the world. The same is the case for those looking to study abroad in the US. Everyone is looking for the latest news on the h1b and legal immigration. While a lot of the misinformed are hoping for an impeachment, I find that unlikely, though not impossible. The Republicans, who control all of Congress, have shown a lot of tolerance and patience with Donald Trump. If the Democrats win back Congress in 2018, which is again unlikely, there is a better chance of an impeachment. The most probable outcome is a 4-year presidency, with chances of a 8 year presidency.
As for high skilled immigration, Donald Trump has given negative signals to those looking to pursue a degree in the US. He has temporarily suspended premium processing of h1b visas, causing significant trouble for those who are looking to start work or looking to renew h1b visas.
However, one thing to note is that most of the changes and proposed changes do affect the IT Industry/Computer Science majors/Computer Engineering fields. For example, he proposed a minimum wage of 130k USD for those companies dependent on h1b labor (more than 15% h1b employees). This proposal, if it passes Congress, would affect only those looking to work in TCS/Infosys/Cognizant etc. There is a lot of uncertainty regarding changes that may or may not happen. Trump has suggested several changes to h1b system, including removing the lottery, reducing the number of visas etc. However, there may be a lot of opposition to most of the changes from fellow Republicans and Democrats. I double many of these can pass through and become law. There are a couple of changes that Trump has issues that will have an immediate impact on people studying MS in USA.
Companies will have to submit additional proof for entry level programmers that their job requires special skills. This will make it more difficult for people doing their MS in CS in the US to get a job in the US. TCS and Infosys have already tried to shift their hiring practices to hire more Americans.
Trump has challenged Obama’s executive order regarding granting work permit to spouses of h1b workers with green card application permits (I-140) approved. It looks likely that those work permits will be removed, and future spouses may not be able to apply.
Besides the above two changes, everything else is uncertain. Trump does not seem to be targeting student visas, as it is an important contributor to the US economy. So you should not see any change in admissions process of universities or otherwise.
If you are looking to complete a MS in USA, then keep the following points in mind:
If you are planning to do a MS in CS, then keep in mind that new rules will make it more difficult for you to get a job once you graduate. So, it is better to work here for a few years before heading to the US. If your experience is recognized, then you may not be considered entry level programmer.
If you are doing a MS in any subject, have a contingency plan in case you are not able to get a job. I recommend not getting into a ton of debt doing the MS, as it will be difficult to pay back on an Indian salary.
Focus on the knowledge you are getting in the MS and how you can apply it anywhere in the globe. If you are passionate about the subject and enjoy learning, then you are winning no matter the end result.
If you are looking to get started on your profile to study abroad, make sure you download our free MS in USA checklist here.