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‘Surprised’ at US asking foreign students to leave, India could raise visa issue in talks today

The US Monday told foreign students they will have to leave if universities hold online classes. Issue likely to be raised at India-US foreign office consultations today

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New Delhi: India is likely to raise the issue of student visas with the Donald Trump administration at the India-US foreign office consultations to be held later Tuesday, ThePrint has learnt.

On Monday, the Trump administration told foreign students that they will have to leave the US if their universities hold online classes. This will affect Indian students too.

According to official sources, New Delhi will raise the issue as the move regarding student visas has come as a “surprise”, unlike the H1B visa call about which the US had informed India through diplomatic and political channels.

India believes the latest decision will have “long-term repercussions”, said the sources.

“This is unacceptable, this can adversely impact even the US’ image of a credible destination for higher studies,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

New Delhi has been in regular conversation with Washington on various bilateral issues, especially on matters concerning visas. However, the student visa issue seems to have caught the Narendra Modi government “unaware”, said the sources.

The matter will be raised during the US-India foreign office consultations with David Hale, the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. The consultations will be held between the Ministry of External Affairs and the US Department of State.

Also read: India and China engaged through diplomatic, military channels: Foreign Secretary

What the US has done

In a notification issued Monday, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said: “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.”

The ICE also said that the students who are presently residing in the US and are enrolled in various programmes with such universities “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status or potentially face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings”.

Sources said such a move won’t even prove to be “politically favourable” for US President Donald Trump, who is facing close presidential elections against Democratic Party nominee and former vice-president Joe Biden.

On 23 June, the Trump administration had temporarily suspended non-immigrant visas, such as the H1B visas, until December.

India is particularly apprehensive of the fact it might become difficult for Trump to lift the temporary ban on the work visas, owing to public pressure, if he gets re-elected, said the sources.

Also read: PLA troops ‘completely move out’ of Galwan as India-China head towards total disengagement


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