At the ongoing battle of US visa norms and restrictions, the govt. of United States has further announced that international students studying in U.S. will not be allowed to stay, if the academic institution switch to online-only courses. And, those who fail to comply with the new rules will face the risk of deportation and further actions.

Many Universities are employing several steps towards the transition to online courses due to the coronavirus outbreak. Incidentally, Harvard has already implemented online course instruction for students living on campus. Following the footprints, many colleges and universities have announced to hold online-only courses till this fall due to the severe pandemic outbreak in the United States.

In a news release Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said that “Students on F-1 and M-1 visas who face such a situation must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,”.

  • The new rule will affect thousands of foreign students who came with US Study Visa with a hope to gain eminence education and skills enhancement by many training programs and non-academic or vocational studies.
  • This will force them to either leave the country or scramble to take transfer to a new school in order to keep their legal status. Some of the students will face extreme hurdles in the online classes due to the varying time zones.
  • The agency further stated that students opted for hybrid of online and in-person courses may take multiple online classes, however the current limits will remain for colleges and universities holding normal in-person classes.
  • This new rules may not affect students participating in optional practical training program (OPT) that allows F-1 students who completed their study, to work in the U.S. for one year.
  • International students amounts to 5.5% of the higher education population in the U.S., accumulating around 1.1 million in the 2018-2019 academic year.

This new regulation is just another chapter of the series of Immigration and Visa restrictions imposed by the Trump administration to restrict legal immigration and foreign nationals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The restriction spree has now affected the International Students in U.S. that may push them in the direction of attending a university in another country.

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