KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reassess its decision to not allow Malaysian students who are enrolled in stateside varsities for full online classes to remain in the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the government is deeply concerned over the fate of more than 6,000 Malaysian students, who are already pursuing their studies at various institutions across the US.
“Presently, the United States hosts the third-largest population of Malaysian students studying abroad,” he said in a statement.
“Given the importance of the United States as an education destination of choice, the government of Malaysia encourages the United States authorities to reassess the need to end this temporary exemption, and find a feasible solution for our students to continue pursuing their studies online and remain in the United States.”
This comes as ICE lifted this week the temporary exemption for foreign students taking online classes for the Fall 2020 semester.
On July 7, the Embassy of Malaysia in Washington DC released an advisory urging Malaysian students to reach out directly to their respective universities, as the status of their Fall classes will be crucial in determining their immigration status.
In the advisory, it stated foreign students with F-1 and M-1 Visa status attending schools operating entirely online will not be allowed to take a full online course load and remain in the US.
The US Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programmes that are fully online for the fall semester nor will US Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the country.
Foreign students currently in the US 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.
The US is currently seeing a resurgence of Covid-19, with some 2.9 million positive cases and over 131,000 deaths recorded so far according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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