Many Kenyans in the US are among the many affected International students, if their Universities transition to online only learning methods take effect.
According to Immigration and Customs enforcement announcement on Monday, they will have to leave on their own or risk deportation.
This sudden move, will affect many Kenyans studying in American Universities and other institutions, even if they are on scholarship programs. It will also affect those in training programs as well as non academic or vocational training..
Many Universities, are now starting to commence on online courses due to new developments to the effect that, cases of COVID-19, continue to rise and may top to 100,000 cases per day in a few months time.
There are some Kenyans Studying at the famous IVY league Harvard University mostly on scholarship and they too, will be affected as the institution has reverted to offering online classes in all the faculties.
Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester as posted include:
- Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. 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. Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status. If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.
- Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools operating under normal in-person classes are bound by existing federal regulations. Eligible F students may take a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.
- Nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model—that is, a mixture of online and in person classes—will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These schools must certify to SEVP, through the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” certifying that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load this semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program. The above exemptions do not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees, who are not permitted to enroll in any online courses.
This comes at a time when Kenya is also experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases, and if the students are deported, they stand to face a blink future as they may not fit in the college system in Kenya, and most likely, they will have to start all over again.
Arch Dr. Isaac Kinungi
Diaspora National Assembly For 254