ICE Declares F-1/M-1 Visas Ineligible if School is Online-Only

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ICE Declares F-1/M-1 Visas Ineligible if School is Online-Only

** Update 7/14/2020 **

The policy has been rescinded.

 

** Update 7/8/2020 **

Harvard and MIT are suing the Trump administration over this matter.  See the news story here.

In an announcement on Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) declared that foreign students attending American schools on an F-1 student visa or an M-1 vocational student visa cannot legally stay in the United States if they are attending a school that only offers online course because of the global coronavirus pandemic.  The announcement has left many immigration experts perplexed, as the announcement does not seem to have any benefits, but could have drastic negative consequences for educational institutions, public health, and the overall economy.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking how colleges and universities will operate in the upcoming fall semester.  Of 1,100 tracked schools, about 8 percent are currently planning to operate in an online-only model, including Harvard University.  The ICE decision may force Harvard and other institutions planning for online-only education to scrap their plans and conduct at least some in-person classes, inviting potential health risks.  Students attending institutions that remain committed to online-only education could be forced to leave the country, transfer schools, reduce course loads, or take appropriate medical leave.

The ICE decision move could affect the nearly 1.1 million foreign students attending school in the U.S., as well as the financial standing the many colleges and universities in the U.S. that depend on international students to remain fiscally solvent.  NAFSA: Association of International Educators estimated that international students attending school in the U.S. during the 2018-2019 school year contributed to $41 billion in economic value and supported 458,290 jobs.

See the full news story here.

This announcement by ICE continues the recent trend of the Trump administration making legal immigration to the United States more difficult.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping immigrants and international students come to the U.S. for decades.  For a free immigration consultation, call us today at 888-517-9888.

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