ISM Policy Pervasion

Visas, Study Permits, and the International Student Experience


  • Max Crumley-Effinger Emerson College



International students, international student mobility and migration, immigration policy, international student experience, visas, study permits


With more and more literature on international student mobility and migration (ISM), one area of focus has often been overlooked: the impacts of student visas and study permits. Examined through an institutionalist framework highlighting the influences of institutions on individuals and their agency, this study describes how visa and study permit policies pervade international students’ lives in a variety of ways. Interview data collected from 40 international students who study in Australia, Canada, and the United States were analyzed to uncover themes from these host countries. Drawing on these interviews to outline the concept of ISM policy pervasion, the findings of this study show that visa policies affect international students in wide ranging ways. In addition to providing empirical evidence for ISM policy pervasion, this article also lays the groundwork for further studies that delve into the practical impacts of student visa and study permit policies around the world.

Author Biography

Max Crumley-Effinger, Emerson College

MAX CRUMLEY-EFFINGER, PhD, is the Assistant Director of International Student Affairs at Emerson College. With research interests including immigration policy, international higher education, and sustainability, Max’s scholarly work centers international student mobility and migration topics, especially as it relates to policy and the student experience, as well as sustainability in international education. He is a peer reviewer for multiple international education journals, on the leadership team for the CIES Study Abroad and International Students SIG, and is a member of NAFSA, CIES, and a Working Group of the European Network on International Student Mobility (ENIS). Email:


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How to Cite

Crumley-Effinger, M. (2023). ISM Policy Pervasion: Visas, Study Permits, and the International Student Experience. Journal of International Students, 14(1), 78–96.