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US to withdraw visas for foreign students if classes moved online

US to withdraw visas for foreign students if classes moved online

International students may need to leave US if their universities shift to online-only classes

Foreign students in the US face an uncertain future as the government plans to possibly deport them if they primarily have online classes. The students who may be let go to their home countries fall under the M-1 and F-1 visa categories.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which is run by ICE, allowed foreign students to continue with their spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the US. Some of the universities have said they will start their new education year with online classes including for those living on the campus. The US governments does not want them to take the full course load if their classes are fully online.

“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. 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,” according to a statement issued by the Trump administration.

Foreign students are a major source income for US universities as they charge them a full fee in most cases. As per statistics from 2018, universities in the US earned $45 billion from foreign students. The exact number of students that will be affected if these actions are taken is yet to be determined.

Recently, Trump administration has taken steps that have stopped employers from recruiting from overseas and stopped the families of some of the current people employed in the US from coming to the country. It is generally felt that the administration is encouraging people from other countries employed in the US to leave.  

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