Trump Admin Drops Plan to Revoke Visas of Foreign Students whose Classes Move Online


NEW YORK, Jul 15 (APP): US President Donald Trump’s administration has rescinded its plans to deport foreign students whose courses move fully online because of the coronavirus pandemic, a rare reversal by the government on immigration policy, according to media reports.

The U-turn comes just one week after the policy announcement.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University sued the government over the plan. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Massachusetts said the parties have come to a settlement. The agreement reinstates a policy implemented in March, amidst the virus outbreak, which allows international students to attend their classes virtually if necessary and remain legally in the country on student visas, according to the New York Times.

Large numbers of foreign students travel to the US to study every year and are a significant source of revenue for universities. Harvard announced recently that because of concerns over the virus’s spread, course instruction would be delivered online when students return for the new academic year. MIT, like a number of other educational institutions, said it would also continue to use virtual tuition.

Foreign students were told last week that they would not be allowed to stay in the US this autumn unless they switched to a course with in-person tuition. Those who had returned to their home countries when term ended in March, as the coronavirus crisis grew, were told they would not be permitted to return if their classes had since moved online.

The US said some visas could be revoked because of coronavirus, leaving students confused and uncertain. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency had said people could face deportation if they did not comply with the rules.

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