DOS Testifies on Status of Visa Policy for Foreign Students, Scholars, Exchange Visitors
Stephen “Tony” Edson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Service, testified on February 7, 2008, before the House of Representatives’ research and science education subcommittee. Among other things, he noted that foreign students contribute over $13 billion annually to the U.S. economy. “Their work significantly boosts our academic and scientific research and their exposure to our culture and freedoms is a crucial public diplomacy success,” he said. Mr. Edson noted that exchange visitor admissions have risen to record highs; in fiscal year (FY) 2007, the Department issued 343,946 J-1 visas, which was 11 percent over the same period in FY 2006. He noted that 90 percent of posts have wait times of less than 30 days for student and business travelers.
The hearing testimony of all the witnesses is available here.