Students from foreign countries will not be permitted to stay in the US this autumn if their universities have moved classes fully online.
They will have to follow the rule unless the universities switch to a course with in-person tuition. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said that students could face deportation if they do not follow the rule.
Several universities in the US have begun conducting online classes in wake of coronavirus pandemic. It is not yet clear how many students will be influenced by this rule.
A great number of international students move to the US to study every year. They are a significant source of income for universities as many pay full tuition.
According to the international news agency, Harvard University has announced that all course classes will be conducted online when students return for the new academic year, including those living at the University.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which is run by ICE, had allowed international students to continue with their spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the country.
However, it was mentioned in Monday’s announcement that foreign students who stay in the US while enrolled in online courses and fail to switch to in-person courses could face “immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings”.
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The rule applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are for academic and vocational students. According to the agency’s data, The State Department issued 388,839 F visas and 9,518 M visas in the fiscal year 2019.
As per the policy, high-skilled tech workers, non-agricultural seasonal helpers, au pairs, and top executives will be targeted.
The White House said the decision has been taken to create jobs for Americans who face financial crises due to coronavirus pandemic.