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U.S. reverses its decision to revoke student visas

Posted July. 16, 2020 07:34,   

Updated July. 16, 2020 07:34


The U.S. government has rescinded its policy that would revoke visas of international students whose courses move fully online this fall, providing a relief for about 50,000 Korean students in the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs announced that the U.S. government, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reached an agreement. “Federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and return to the status quo,” the judge said.

The Department of Home Security said on July 6 that it would neither allow international students at schools that offer only online courses to stay in the country nor issue visas to new students. It has been considered to be a move to pressure universities to provide face-to-face tuition. However, concerns were raised that, once implemented, the new policy could deport about one million international students and deal a blow to the finances of universities and local economies.

In response, Harvard University, MIT and other U.S. universities brought a lawsuit along with 18 state governments to rescind the policy. IT companies including Facebook and Google also backed their stance, saying that the future of the country’s economy depends on how much talent the country can attract.

As the U.S. government dropped the policy, students already in the United States can stay in the country even though their schools only offer online courses. However, there is a possibility that the rule might still be applied to new students. Foreign newspapers reported that there were ongoing discussions on applying the restrictions to new students while allowing existing students to stay.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com