US election: Six days to go and teachers are nervous

With the US election just days away, international teachers in the country are worried about their visa status


US election 2020: Whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins the election next week, international teachers in the US will be worried about their visa status

With the US elections one week away, the international community feels nervous.

The two-party system has formed a supporting base of citizens who treat their political parties like sports teams and policies and debate like storylines in a soap opera.

The divisions are clear – huge numbers of the population proudly declare their political allegiance with flags, bumper stickers and signs wedged firmly into the ground along the roadside.

Most of the time, as a foreigner in the USA, it is easy to feel a level of disconnect during all of this – like watching the World Cup after your team has been knocked out. You still watch with excitement but there is a lack of real investment for either side.

This year, though, the stakes are higher and the road to the election has been a bumpy one that nobody has really enjoyed. In some ways, we’ll be glad when it’s all over – except, of course, we have no idea what awaits.

US election 2020: Uncertainty for international teachers

Over the course of the current administration, laws surrounding visa applications and acceptances have changed dramatically.

It has caused complications, headaches and a barrage of regulations to navigate in order to safely secure a move to the land of the free.

This sense of the unknown is enough to stir the wicked anxieties that brew deep down in the pit of the stomach. As the election hurtles towards us, that unknown feels larger than ever. 

For those in the United States on a visa, there is the fear of what will come with the ushering in of a new, or continued, administration.

For those who desperately dream for a move to the Land of Liberty, the pathway looks uncertain.

If there were to be another four years of the current administration, that could have serious implications for visa applications.

The blockages have already been put in place to lessen how many immigrants are coming in, and the rules are tightening.

As it stands, a lot of international schools provide E2 visas for their employees. Yet, if the rumours are to be believed, that could soon be in danger of administerial change – a latent issue that would be troubling.

Donald Trump or Joe Biden? What about our visas?

There could be a presidential change, of course.  

Though, at this point, it is difficult to find anyone who can clearly explain the impact this would have for visa applicants and how foreign workers would be viewed by the White House.

The hope will be that there may be a softening of attitudes, of a recognition of the importance of international educators in the country – both in international schools and state schools.

This mix of worry, uncertainty and hope is a reminder of how international teachers, in any part of the world, are often left at the mercy of their host nation’s political landscape.

As such, international teachers will be watching on election night – like the rest of the world – to see what unfolds.

O beautiful, for spacious skies…We all hope you remain clear and prosperous in the nation's next chapter.

The author is a senior teacher working in the US

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