Foreign students might have to leave if classes go fully online: US Govt

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New Delhi (NVI): International students in the United States might have to leave or risk deportation if the schools they are enrolled in move classed entirely online in the upcoming semester, the US Government has announced.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), under the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), announced modifications yesterday, saying that it is modifying “temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.”

The move is expected to affect the decisions of students planning to apply for higher studies in the US. As for the active or enrolled students, they may even consider dropping a semester. Notably, Indians are the second-largest group of international students in the US, after the Chinese.

As per an ICE release, the “US Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule”.

Schools should update their information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 10 days of the change if they begin the fall semester with in-person classes but are later required to switch to only online classes, read an official statement.

However, nonimmigrant students within the US are not permitted to take a full course of study through online classes, as per the SEVP statement.

The body has also recommended that if students find themselves in this situation, they must leave the country or take “alternative steps” to maintain their nonimmigrant status such as a reduced course load or “appropriate medical leave”.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has insisted that schools and colleges be open in the fall. “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” Trump tweeted yesterday, shortly after SEVP released its new guidelines.

-ARK