In a huge blow to foreign students in the United States, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Monday that international students whose classes become fully online either have to depart the country or to transfer to a school with in-person classes. The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) told international students on student visas that they must depart the United States if their school is going online this fall semester and they cannot remain through the fall semester.
“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,” said the ICE in its temporary exemptions for the Fall 2020 semester. “The US 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 US,” the ICE added. The ICE said this applies to nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students.
With rapid spike in Covid-19 cases across the US, several universities and colleges are asking their student populations to stay home in the fall semester. While some colleges and universities are allowing 40 to 60 percent of their students to return to campus and live in the college residence halls at one time.
Prestigious Universities like Harvard, Stanford are no different. Harvard on Monday announced that it will allow first-year students and some students in special circumstances to be present in the fall, the freshmen will leave in the spring as it will then allow the seniors. Stanford University said it will allow freshmen and sophomores to stay on campus in the fall while juniors and seniors study remotely from home.
Now the statement from the ICE and schools have pushed several international students studying in the US into a great difficulty as large numbers of foreign students are likely to be returned to their home countries. The move is seen as a big set back to the Indian students studying in the US.