After coronavirus pandemic, the new guidelines issued by the US federal immigration authorities are set to impact thousands of Nepali students in the USA.
The new guidelines, issued by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), pressed the universities to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance has been released at the time when some institutions, including Harvard University, are planning to offer online classes.
Under the new rules, international students must attend at least one of their classes in person. And visas will not be issued to students enrolled in schools and programs that are fully online.
With this, the international students are barred from taking all their classes online, even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses.
The new rule has put thousands of international students, including Nepalis, stranded in the US in enormous confusion and uncertainty. Now the students are at risk of departing the country or transferring to a school with in-person instructions.
“Foreign students are being threatened with a choice: risk your life going to class in-person or get deported,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent.
The United States is one of the most preferred higher education destinations for Nepali students. Currently, over 14,000 Nepali students are pursuing education in various universities in the US, and the new guidelines will be a direct threat to these students.
According to the US Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, Nepal ranked 12th in terms of the number of undergraduate and graduate students studying in the US, with a total of 13,229 students.
Every year, over 2,000 Nepali students enrolled in various universities across the US.
The new announcement was the latest pandemic-related strike against legal immigration by the Trump administration. Last month, the Trump Government extended a ban on new green cards to people outside the US and expanded the freeze on temporary work permits.