Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 7
Weeks after President Donald Trump clamped down on different non-immigration visas, the US government has barred overseas students at fully online colleges from staying in the country unless they transfer to another institution to maintain their student-visa status.
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Immigration experts, however, are asking parents and students not to panic saying the guidelines were certain to be challenged in court. “I won’t encourage anyone to book a flight home this exact moment. Lawsuits are inevitable,’’ said US immigration lawyer Aaron Reichlin-Melnick.
The move is part of extensive changes being run across the entire US immigration system. “Students enrolled at a school that is only offering online coursework can engage in remote learning from their home country,” said a US government guidance.
But it lifts the bar on international students taking more than one online course. This will hit foreign students from countries where internet connection is bad or classes are held at dead-of-the-night local time. The US provides a loophole which advises students to take alternative steps such as a reduced course load (RCL) or appropriate medical leave. But RCL is valid only for academic difficulties and medical conditions.Colleges will have to certify that students are not taking an entirely online course-load or that their academic program is not wholly online.
This will hit existing students hard because surveys show 90% of overseas students had stayed back in the US and they will have to return if colleges operate online this fall.
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