The new rule by the U.S Immigration Authority will adversely affect thousands of Indian students studying in Australia. It says, “Foreign students at U.S universities and schools will no longer be eligible to stay in the country if their courses move fully online due to coronavirus,” US immigration authorities said on Monday.
Students holding visas for either academic or vocational courses that have moved fully online should either depart the country or transfer to a school with in-person teaching to “remain in lawful status”, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that a failure to do this could result in deportation proceedings.
According to immigration attorney Cyrus Mehta, the latest policy means that students enrolled in US universities that are shifting to online classes only will be prohibited from getting F-1 visas, they will be stopped to enter US on F-1 visas and will not be permitted to enter F-1 status in the fall semester.
“ICE is now forcing the universities to open up despite coronavirus roaring back across 40 to 50 states. So Trump is forcing foreign students to study in unsafe conditions during Covid-19″, Mehta tweeted.
- Schools shut, with no mid-day meal led children to beg for food in Bihar
- UGC issued fresh guidelines, final year exams to be conducted by September end
ICE Guidelines Apply to
- It applied to academic and vocational students that are holders of F-1 and M-1 visas.
- It will not affect F-1 students taking partial online courses until the time their University announces a fully digital platform for learning.
- These guidelines will not affect the students taking offline classes
- F-1 English language training program students and M-1 vocational program students are not permitted to take online classes
Impact of the New Policy on Indian Students
All the Indian students in the US holding F-1 and M-1 visas will be overwhelmed by this new policy announced by trump admin. India sent the largest number of students (251,290) to the US after China (478,732) in 2017 and 2018, according to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) ‘SEVIS by the Numbers Report’ 2018. The number of students from India increased from 2017 to 2018 by 4,157.
This decision has put their future in uncertainty. Indian students abroad cannot even return back to India as international flights have been suspended till 31st July to avoid the risk of a covid-19 pandemic. The move has put the future of thousands of Indian students in threat, who might be planning for an optional practical training program which enables international students to complete their studies in the US.
Indian students won’t be exempted from this policy even if their universities are forced to take up online classes because of the pandemic. It’s unclear that what will happen to the Indian students in the US if they won’t be granted travel permits by their home country and their classes would get online.
Consequences of New Immigration Rule
Currently, many schools and universities are planning to adopt a hybrid model of in-person and online instruction but some universities like Harvard University have confirmed that classes will be conducted online. Many international students including Indian students abroad are left with two choices: either to put their life at risk and attend in-person classes or get deported.
According to ICE, there were more than 1 million international students in the US for 2018-19 academic years which contributed $44.7 Billion to the US economy in 2018.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote in a tweet, “Kicking international students out of the US during a global pandemic because their colleges are moving classes online for physical distancing hurts students. It’s senseless, cruel, and xenophobic. ICE government and DHS government must drop this policy immediately.”