The ruling passed by Immigration and Customs Enforcements brought a wrecking ball to the already difficult life of international students in the US in the time of the pandemic, which says that they have to leave the country or risk deportation if they cannot attend in-person courses for the full semester. Online study will not suffice norms to stay in the US and could result in the visa being invalidated unless they shift to institutions that offer in-person courses.
This notification by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau sent a message of an uncertain future for over one million international students in the US, including 200,000 Indians and 400,000 Chinese.
“There’s so much uncertainty. It’s very frustrating,” said Valeria Mendiola, 26, a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “If I have to go back to Mexico, I can go back, but many international students just can’t.
“F-1 students enrolled in a fully online program must depart the US or transfer to a school which offers a hybrid model. ( that includes in-person teaching ).These policies also apply to M-1 students “.says ICE release.
The F visas allow foreigners to pursue education (academic studies and/or language training programs) and are a type of non-immigrant student visa in the United States.
The M–1 visa in the US is a type of student visa reserved for international students attending technical schools and vocational schools.
This will hit the existing students in US hard as surveys show that 90% of the foreign students have stayed back in the country and they will have to return if college operates online this fall semester.
ICE said that students who fall under certain visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” adding, “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.”
India asks the US to reconsider visa order
India has asked the US to reconsider its latest order on international students as this is going to seriously affect 2,00,000 strong Indian community in the US.
The issue was raised by foreign secretary Mr Harsh Shringla during consultation with US undersecretary David Hale and expressed “disappointment ” over the order passed.’
Shringla said that this will aggravate the uncertainty among students while they are battling with Covid.
By Rashmi Sharma