About 450 Indian students of California-based Herguan University, a majority of whom are from Andhra Pradesh, face the prospect of a transfer to another university or return home.
The immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) department of the US government has delivered a blow to the university by issuing a withdrawal notice for Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) which leaves the university without certification to enrol non-immigrant students.
Further, ICE terminated the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records of existing students on September 18, as a result of which either the students will have to seek transfer to a new school which is willing to accept them or leave the country in a week’s time.
Of the 450 Indian students enrolled in the university, a majority hail from Andhra Pradesh and were enrolled in the non-accredited institution as it allowed them to pursue their courses in distance-learning mode while working on illegal work-permits.
The university was in the news in early August when chief executive officer Jerry Wang was arrested on charges of visa fraud. The SEVP had set the deadline of September 4 for submission of a response to the ‘Notice of intent to withdraw’.
The SEVP withdrew the certification citing delay on the part of the university to file a response to the notice. The university, is however, defiant and plans to take legal recourse.
Students seeking a transfer to new schools will have to get their SEVIS data transferred to those institutions following which a fresh I-20 will be issued to them. The university website displayed the following message as a rebuttal:
“HGU responded to the Notice of Intent to Withdraw. SEVP’s attorneys stated that September 4, 2012 would be the last date to respond and the HGU attorney submitted HGU’s response on that date. The HGU attorney is authorized to take all legal action to remedy this situation for the students and school. Please check the HGU for updates.”
For students wishing to stay back in the US to complete their courses, the time-frame given is short. Failing to seek a transfer and vacate the country, the certificates and documents stand a chance of being seized by the enforcement authorities. The students are likely to approach the Indian embassy for redress.