On July 6, 2020, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a new rule, forcing foreign students to leave the country if their school does not allow them attend in-person classes this fall.
This is a major blow to the students and to the economy. According to an economic analysis by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $41 billion and supported 458,290 jobs during the 2018-2019 academic year.
The rule applies to F-1 and M-1 visa holders, which are for academic and vocational students. The State Department issued almost 400,000 such visas in fiscal year 2019, a drop of 40% from previous years, according to the agency’s data. There are approximately 1.1 million foreign students in total in the US, plus their dependent spouses and children.
The rule requires students to have some of their classes in person. If a college does not offer in-person classes, the student must move to a college that does offer classes, or leave the US. Specifically, the rule states:
We expect that there will be lawsuits filed very quickly against this new rule, because of the devastating impact that this will have on foreign students and on the colleges and other businesses that rely on their financial contributions. Stay tuned for details.
For more information, please contact Elaine Martin, Immigration Lawyer.
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.