International students pursuing post-graduate degrees in the sciences and engineering are expressing grave concerns after President Trump signed an executive order seeking a review of the U.S. visa program for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country. As Ivor Bennett reports, it's put technology firms and the outsourcing companies that serve them on notice that possible changes may be ahead.
Away from his computer studies at California State University, Mayank works part-time on the campus radio station. He's hoping to find a full-time job when he graduates in May. But suddenly, that might not be an option. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYANK KASTURIA, FOREIGN STUDENT FROM NEW DELHI, INDIA FINISHING HIS MASTER'S DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCES, SAYING: "One of the companies I talked to and they say, are you, are you looking for any sponsorship and the moment I said yes, they said we will, we are not providing any sponsorship." Mayank is from India - one of nearly 3000 international students here. Most are pursuing advanced degrees in science or computing. But a review of the H1-B visa program - for highly-skilled workers - means their future in the U.S. is now in doubt. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYANK KASTURIA, INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FROM NEW DELHI, INDIA FINISHING HIS MASTER'S DEGREE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE, SAYING: "Everyone is following their dream and if there is something interrupting that dream that's hard for everyone." But it's President Trump's dream to put America first. His executive order to review the visa scheme has put firms on notice of potential changes ahead. If they come, it's not just the students who could lose out. The university is a vital pool of talent for America's tech sector. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOROUZAN GOLSHANI, DEAN, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY - LONG BEACH, SAYING: "For many years, we've relied on this pool of well educated individuals from other countries to fill the vacant positions in engineering and sciences. If that is not going to be available to us, we will have to look for drastic alternatives." For the students, it's an anxious wait. Knowing their time in the U.S. could soon be up.