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S. Korea expresses concerns about US visa restrictions for foreign students


The foreign ministry said Tuesday it has expressed concern about the US government's plan not to issue visas to students enrolled in online schools and programs and to ban those students from entering the country.

"The government has been seeking consultations (with Washington) through its diplomatic missions in the US to minimize the impact on Korean students by conveying our concerns about the plan," a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

On July 6 (local time), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a plan to stop foreign students from staying in the country if all of their classes go online in the fall semester in a bid to contain coronavirus infections.

The US immigration authorities also said they will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor will it permit those students to enter the country.

Defying the US government's plan, US universities, including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, filed a lawsuit against the plan on July 8. The suit is to be handled by the federal district court in Boston.

The lawsuit was followed by a petition supporting it, submitted by 59 universities in the US to the court.

The petition reportedly included a case of a South Korean student of Chicago DePaul University, who was kept from entering the US at the airport because he did not sign up for classes.

"The foreign ministry has been looking into the case," the official said. (Yonhap)