Trump visa crackdown detains Oz expats at USA borders

Trump visa crackdown detains Oz expats at USA borders

Trump visa crackdown detains Oz expats at USA borders

Australian expats and tourists are now being pulled up at US borders, with the USA’s projected new visa system expected to ban some from entry.

Since Trump was inaugurated as US president, Australian travellers are becoming victims of increased surveillance at US airports and border crossings and those applying for visas are now subjected to new enquiries by the immigration authorities.

Although the entry rules themselves haven’t changed as yet, immigration officers seem to be interpreting them in a more stringent manner. Even worse is the likely prospect that a number of Australians will be barred from popular work such as hospital staff, summer camp counsellors, trainees and interns.

The reason behind the unwelcome changes would appear to be Trump’s ‘jobs for Americans’ campaign promise, which might well rule out on-the-job training for professional expats. Those wishing to work in hospitals, for example, would be ruled out whatever their present qualifications. According to one Australian immigration lawyer working in the US, the J-1 visa programme is being reviewed, meaning entering the country to work in tourism, live-in childcare and other similar jobs will no longer be possible.

Visa approvals are now taking longer, and unimportant blemishes on expats’ records now mean a refusal is most likely under the present administration, whereas previously it would have been ignored. Other clampdowns are being reported, especially on Australians who have overstayed their visas by over 90 days. One unfortunate Aussie found himself locked up for two full weeks on an overstay of exactly one hour. Immigration lawyers are now urging expats to be vigilant and clear about their reasons for entering the USA and to present only the facts to an immigration officer.

Last month, questions about J-1 visa changes were put to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, who replied she’d nothing to say at that time. One small piece of good news is that the E-3 work visa is available to Australian citizens, and will hopefully continue to be so.

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