'Pay for Stay' Visa Fraud: The Story of A Returned Student

'Pay for Stay' Visa Fraud: The Story of A Returned Student

Many Telugu students who fell in the trap for US immigration officials 'Farmington University' in Michigan have been returning to India and one of them spoke to BBC on phone interview, revealing many things. He returned to India in February.

This 30-year-old Telugu student (name hidden) is the first one to visit the USA from his family. He could not reveal the reasons for his sudden return to India to his parents. He reportedly lied to his parents that he got H-1B visa and his visit to India is a work related to its processing.

His family is in debts of nearly 10 lakh rupees and they borrowed that amount for his studies. Unfortunately, he has to repay the loan in less than 6 months and his dream of pursuing Master's remained a dream now.

He completed his Engineering course in 2013 and traveled to the USA to join North Western Polytechnic University in California in 2014 December. When he was working as an IT contractor in California, in 2016 May, the STEM OPT accreditation for that University got revoked leaving him jobless.

He used to earn $4000 and his monthly expenses did not cross $1500. The canceled accreditation to STEM program for his University left him without many options when some of his friends referred him the 'Farmington University' for which he applied for admission and got it approved. (Farmington University provided Day One CPT program to its students)

His H-1B trials in 2017 gave some hope initially, though the US immigration rejected it after asking for more documents (RFE).

The news of raids and arrests of Farmington University students spread like wildfire on January 30 and after hearing about it, he too made his plans to return immediately like many other students from 'Farmington University'. He finally reached India on February 4 after borrowing some amount of money from one of the friends, to buy flight tickets. 

He is now on his job trails in India as he has to repay the debts made for his US studies. He still needs to pay 6 Lakh rupees and interest on it.

On the other side, The US immigration officials detained 130 Indians among which 122 were students and 8 were allegedly instrumental in getting the admissions for the former. US Immigration department accused these 122 students with Immigration fraud charges. Immigration fraud accused can file a blank-application and if Judge permits, they can leave the country (voluntary departure). It takes around 5 to 20 days for the appeals to come to trail.

According to a memo issued by the US Immigration department on August 9, 2018, a person cannot get the Day 1 CPT opportunity if he joins the same level degree with a different course. And a person can not stay in the USA for more than six months after course completion and if found staying illegally, they may get banned from visiting the USA for 3 years.

Source: BBC