Various news outlets are reporting that international students in the United States could be made to leave the country if their education providers decide to only offer online courses, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Monday 6 July 2020. The announcement was made on the same day that Harvard University announced all course instruction would be delivered online in the new academic year.
What will happen to those students?
In the news release, ICE said that international students who fall under certain visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States” for the fall 2020 semester, adding, “The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
Put simply, international students may not be able to come into the U.S. for their studies in the fall semester, which commences in late August, if their education providers have transitioned to only online study.
This announcement has caused a lot of anger, frustration and confusion for international students studying in the United States.
What does this mean for me in Australia?
If you are an international student in Australia, know that no such measures have been implemented in Australia, nor are there any plans to do so. You are safe to continue living, studying and working in Australia under the conditions of your student visa.
Threats of deportation, arrest or eviction may be scammers preying on the increased vulnerability of people during COVID-19. We run through some of the common scams during this time and how to protect yourself here.
For students looking to come to Australia for their studies, pilot programs are being developed in some states to allow international students into Australia to commence semester two studies. Insider Guides will keep you up-to-date on any developments.