USA asks foreign students to leave country if classes go online

USA asks foreign students to leave country if classes go online

The rule will apply to F-1 and M-1 visa holders.

The US will not allow global students to remain in the country, and will not issue fresh F-1 visas to students if their classes move completely online, according to the new guidelines issued on Monday by federal immigration authorities.

Universities nationwide are beginning to make the decision to transition to online courses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Large numbers of foreign students travel to the U.S. to study every year and are a significant source of revenue for universities as many pay full tuition.

Worldwide students in the United States could be made to leave the country if their universities decide to only offer online courses, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced on Monday night. What flights remain may be outside the affordable range for students who made the mistake of paying for their college courses up front.

The new guidance comes in the wake of a series of measures to restrict foreigners from USA work and study, on the grounds that they take jobs that Americans could do at a time when the economy has flatlined due to pandemic-induced restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

With many American schools announcing that the upcoming fall semester will be entirely online, the new guidance means enrolled students may have to up and leave the country, and students intending to enrol may have to reconsider study plans.

"Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States", said ICE.

Some institutions such as Yale University have cited the ability to swiftly transition to remote instruction as an advantage of the hybrid model, in case the pandemic worsens.

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New visas will not be issued for online-only programmes. Source Spencer Platt AFP

Those who are already in the U.S. will be asked to leave the country or transfer to schools with in-person classes.

Harvard and Princeton announced Monday that they will only invite students back to campus in groups segmented throughout the academic year. The rule has students and many professors up in arms.

Though the new rule states that students can transfer to a new school to remain in lawful status, many say this is not a viable option.

The US government says foreign students now on student visas who are taking full-time online classes could face removal from the country.

On Monday the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for non-immigrant students taking online courses.

You can continue to stay in the USA legally if your university has announced that they will be operating under the hybrid learning model. The university is still planning on bringing up to 40 percent of undergraduate students back to campus.

According to an economic analysis by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students studying at USA colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs during the 2018-2019 academic year.

F-1 and M-1 visas are given to foreign nationals who are pursuing academic or vocational studies in the United States, according to ICE. In many places, absent are familiar scenes of fireworks and get togethers, replaced by warnings and worry about the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 2.8 million Americans and killed more than 129,000.

Prominent American academicians and lawmakers have reacted sharply to the new United States guideline to kick out foreign students pursuing degrees in the country if their universities switch to online-only classes, calling it as "horrifying" and "cruel".

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