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US revokes foreign student visa suspension amid widespread protests

Even as the proceedings in the cases filed by Harvard and MIT and others were to start, the Federal court in Boston announced on Tuesday that the Government had rescinded the foreign student visa withrawal order of July 6.

WASHINGTON, July 15: The US administration on Tuesday rescinded its July 6 order which had stripped foreign students of their visas if the courses in which they have taken admission for the fall session is fully online.

The Government had announced that those who are already in the US had an option to join courses which have at least one in-person class and continue to stay in the US. The rule also applied to students who had got admission since January this year and were waiting to come over. The Administration had threatened those staying in the US in violation of the rule will be deported and those coming in will be prevented entry by the border force.

As the scrapping of the student visa would impact the economic condition of the universities, losing millions of dollars in tuition fees, a bunch of them had approached the federal court. They included top institutions like Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California University.

Even as the proceedings were to start in the Federal court in Boston on Tuesday, the Government submitted that it is rescinding its order and the judge announced the news.

When the policy was announced by the Administration ion July 6, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told CNN in an interview, “If they’re not going to be a student or they’re going to be 100 percent online, then they don’t have a basis to be here...They should go home, and then they can return when the school opens.”

In fact, the rule that had been in effect earlier for 20 years required foreign students to take most of their classes in-person unlike the more liberal new order, and that rule was totally suspended by Trump on March 13 as the coronavirus restrictions kicked in and the campuses went fully online.

Every year 10 lakh foreign students enrol for admissions in the US, contributing $41 billion to the economy.

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