Instead of being issued with automatic maximum possible duration, visas granted to Chinese citizens may soon be limited by United States consulate officers, according to an announcement by the U.S. State Department on Tuesday.
The move, which is intended to combat the supposed theft of U.S. intellectual property, will take effect on June 11.
The reported changes were earlier hinted at in U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security plan published in December where it was mentioned that foreign students studying STEM subjects could face visa restrictions.
While the visa application process itself will remain under the new changes, getting a visa will be more difficult for Chinese citizens working or studying in specific fields that Beijing earlier indicated to be national priorities in its “Made in China 2025” strategic plans.
Citing a U.S. official, the Associated Press reports that Chinese graduate students majoring in robotics, high-tech manufacturing or aviation may now only get one-year visas.
Chinese researchers or managers of companies included on the U.S. Commerce Department list can be issued visas after going through a lengthy process that requires special clearances from several U.S. agencies. Each visa request under the process could take months.
While it was not reported which companies are included on the list, it is assumed that mobile companies and other similar technology firms might be on it considering the scrutiny placed on ZTE and Huawei recently.