Non-adherence to order may lead to immigration consequences, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings, the ICE said.
In a major setback for Indian students, the United States on Monday announced that the country will not issue visas to foreign students if their classes have been moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Non-immigrant students have to show that they are taking minimum classes online in order to remain in the US. The move is likely to impact thousands of Indians, who along with the Chinese, form the largest number of overseas students in the US.
Students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas cannot remain in the US or legally enter the country if their studies are entirely online, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, adding that students may transfer to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status.
Non-adherence to order may lead to immigration consequences, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings, the ICE added.
According to the US National Immigration Forum, "International students attending U.S. colleges & universities contribute $41 billion to the economy each year, an additional $10 billion in spending outside of tuition, and are responsible for supporting over 458,000 jobs."
Taking to Twitter, former US Diplomat, Alice Wells, said, "The 200,000+ Indian students on American campuses not only are natural "ambassadors" between our countries but contribute significantly — $6 billion+ — to the US economy. We need to safeguard these vital ties."
The announcement comes at a time when schools and universities are considering how to safely reopen in the fall, with major universities like Harvard and Princeton imposing restrictions on students’ return.
Harvard University on July 7 announced its plan to bring up to 40 percent of undergraduates, including all first-year students, back to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year, which begins on September 2, 2020. However, all course instructions -- for both graduate and undergraduate courses -- will continue to be fully online, regardless of whether the student is residing inside the campus.
Similarly, Princeton University and Yale University also announced that they would allow students to return to campus with a reduced capacity.