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On Tuesday, the US State Department announced it will shorten the length of visas granted to Chinese students. This move is the latest in a series of actions to combat the theft of US intellectual property, according to the Associated Press. The visa application process will remain unchanged, but Chinese citizens working in tech fields will have a harder time getting a visa under these new changes.

Starting June 11, visas granted to Chinese citizens can be limited by US consulate officers, as opposed to being automatically issued at maximum duration. US officials told AP that Chinese graduate students are restricted to one-year visas if they’re majoring in robotics, high-tech manufacturing, or aviation. These, by no coincidence, are areas that China has identified as national priorities in its Made in China 2025 plans.

In addition, if a Chinese citizen works as a researcher or manager for a company on the US Commerce Department list of entities requiring high scrutiny, their visa request will require special clearance from multiple US agencies. The process will take an additional several months, according to AP’s source.

This announcement should come as no surprise to those who have been tracking the Trump administration since December. The president issued a national security strategy in December which said that the US would review and tighten visa procedures “to reduce economic theft by non-traditional intelligence collectors.” In particular, the document mentioned restrictions on visas for foreign students studying in high-tech fields. These changes come as the Trump administration cracks down on China’s trade practices, especially those in the high-tech field that Beijing plans to dominate.

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