Malaysian students studying in the US have been left uncertain of what the future holds for them, following a new immigration rule that marks the end of temporary exemptions for students taking online classes there amid the coronavirus pandemic.
International students pursuing degrees in the US would have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online-only courses.
These new exemptions mean that foreign students with F-1 and M-1 Visa statuses attending schools which conduct all of its classes online, will not be allowed to stay in the US.
Also, the country’s Department of State stressed that it would not renew their visa status, nor would the US Customs and Border Protection permit new students who have enrolled in institutions there to enter.
With that, the Malaysian Embassy in Washington has urged all Malaysian students studying there to check with their respective universities on their method of learning for the upcoming semester.
Schools would have to confirm that their programme was not conducted entirely online, and that the student was only taking a required number of online classes in order to progress.
Some universities are working to block the enforcement of this policy, with institutions like Harvard and MIT considering suing the country's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
However, the Embassy is currently seeking further clarification from immigration officials on the matter.
As it stands, the US has over 1.6 million COVID-19 cases still active.
To all Malaysians over there in the US, stay safe and we hope you’re well!
by Kyle Roshen Jacob