Two top Australian universities are bracing for impact following Trump's travel ban

The University of Sydney. Photo: University of Sydney/ Facebook.

Academic travel between Australia and the US is the latest concern under US president Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

Yesterday the first Australian traveller was denied a US visa under the new executive order.

Fifteen-year-old Pouya Ghadirian, who was born in Australia and holds dual Australian-Iranian citizenship by descent, was denied a visa to visit Orlando, Washington, and the US Space & Rocket Centre in Alabama.

While Turnbull said the schoolboy’s case may be reconsidered “in light of the assurances that have been given today”, Australian universities still fear it is their institutions which will suffer under the travel ban.

Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson told The Australian that Australia and the US have a proud tradition of student and staff exchanges but if participants happen to be from one of the listed countries it will make it difficult to collaborate on research.

“The ban has the potential to adversely affect research collaboration, academic conference participation, student exchange programs and postdoctoral work,” she said.

Business Insider reached out to other Australian universities to gauge their thoughts.

Here’s what they had to say.

The University of Sydney

We are yet to fully understand the implications of this week’s change to the United States entry conditions.

Universities are, by their very nature, international institutions. Given the diverse and far-reaching nature of our international engagement – from research collaborations across countries, to staff mobility and student exchange schemes, and in-country educational programs – we predict these changes will have some impact on our operations.

We are in close contact with the US Consulate in Sydney and in the coming days we hope to have greater clarity about the potential impact of these international developments on our staff and students. At this stage we are aware of some delays in travel experienced by a small number of staff, but we hope that the longer term implications for both staff and students will become clearer in coming days.

The welfare of our staff and students is of the utmost concern to us, and we will do all we can to support the members of our community affected. We are grateful for the new perspectives, questions and contributions offered by our highly diverse staff and student population, and we aim to ensure they continue to enrich the quality of our teaching and research on the world stage.

– A statement provided to Business Insider by a spokesperson for the University

The Australian National University

Dear Colleagues

I’m sure many of you share my alarm and deep concern at the Executive Order issued by the President of the United States over the weekend that imposes restrictions on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The ban will have a very real effect for universities and academia, and we expect some of our staff and students to be affected.

Please be assured that ANU welcomes our students, staff and visitors from these countries without prejudice and will support those affected by the restrictions. ANU has long prided itself on being an inclusive, diverse and highly international community that values global engagement.

The current DFAT advice is that “The US State Department has advised visa issuance to nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been temporarily suspended following the signing of the Executive Order.”

This is in addition to changes made in 2016 that mean “Australians who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen since 1 March 2011 will also no longer be eligible to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.” There are some exemptions to this rule.

We will closely monitor the situation as it develops, but staff and students who hold citizenship of these countries, or who have visited these countries since 2011, and who plan to travel to the United States should contact their supervisor before confirming any travel plans and, in addition, should monitor Smart Traveller (www.smarttraveller.gov.au) for updates.

Professor Brian P. Schmidt AC
Vice-Chancellor

– A letter sent to staff by vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt provided to Business Insider by ANU

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