New restrictions on U.S. visas to impact Taiwan students

International students will be denied visas if the entirety of their school courses are to be held online. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Monday a new regulation that requires foreign students to leave the U.S. should their classes be held online, forcing many Taiwanese students to return home to continue their education. 

If schools only conduct online courses, U.S. officials stated that immigration offices won’t issue visas to international students who are still abroad either.

According to a press release issued by the ICE, international students with non-immigrant M-1 or F-1 visas whose courses will be held entirely online cannot stay or enter the United States legally.

These students are recommended to transfer to schools that accept physical teaching in order to maintain their legal status. 

If schools provide a combination of face-to-face and online learning, however, students can take some online courses and stay in the U.S. as long as the school can prove that not all of their students are taking online courses.

Students would also need to notify the institution within ten days should they decide to change courses midway through the semester, the ICE added. 

Meanwhile, universities have been trying to find ways to safely reopen in the fall. In many major universities, students have been forced to leave campus and take classes remotely throughout the semester. 

According to Statista, a german portal for statistics, 23,369 Taiwanese students attended school abroad in the United States for the school year of 2018-2019.

For the most recent school year of 2019-2020, specific statistics have not been published on how many Taiwanese students are attending school in the United States because of the coronavirus forcing many students to return back to their families in Taiwan.

However, with the upward trend of students attending school in the States in the previous years, it’s clear that the effect of the regulations will have a rebounding effect on numerous Taiwanese students.