In a move that this likely to affect the stay of scores of international students studying in the United States, the US administration has now said that it would not allow foreign students to stay back in the country if their classes are moved fully online in the fall session due to ongoing coronavirus induced pandemic.
Issuing a statement, US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) department said, “Non immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.”
While spelling out the road ahead, the ICE said, “Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
Incidentally, many institutions in the United States are yet to come out with their academic plans for the fall. Harvard University has however announced that all courses would go online when students enroll in the next session.
ICE said that the State Department won’t issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester “nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States”. The rule will be applicable for all F-1 and M-1 visa holders.
Going by the number of international students in the United States, a large number of Indian students are also likely to be affected. International students – who came mostly from China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada, contributed nearly $44.7 billion to US’s economy in 2018 as per reports.
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