Washington, April 11: Students from India must exercise "due diligence” before seeking admission into American universities, the Indian Embassy here has said, after a number of students landed in trouble for enrolling into "fake" educational institutions set up by US authorities to expose immigration fraud.
The embassy in an advisory said that In recent years, instances of “fake” universities set up by the US law enforcement agencies have come to light. According to the US law enforcement, these universities are run by undercover law enforcement agents of the US, who pose as owners and employees of the university. The sole objective of such operations is to identify recruiters and entities engaged in immigration fraud in the US.
The most recent examples of such Universities are the University of Northern New Jersey set up in 2013 and of Farmington University established in 2015 by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the Department of Homeland Security. In both cases, a number of Indian students enrolled into these Universities, paid the requisite tuition fee and were granted F1 visa as well as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) permission.
These Indian students, many of whom claimed later that they were caught unawares, were subsequently detained by US law enforcement agencies and subjected to deportation proceedings. They were accused of having violated the US immigration laws and of knowingly remaining enrolled in a “fake” University for the sole purpose of continuing their stay in the US without the intention of pursuing any academic activity.
"In order to ensure that Indian students do not fall into such “traps”, it is advised that due diligence be exercised while seeking admission in US universities," the embassy said. The fact that a University is duly accredited by relevant US authorities such as its inclusion in the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVIS), is not an assurance in itself about the bonafides of a University.
Therefore, before seeking admission in a university, the embassy said, students are advised to take into account several other factors. These include whether the university functions from a campus or merely maintains a website and has administrative premises only. If not, such universities are not to be regarded as a bonafide educational institution and admission into such universities should be avoided.
Students should also find out whether the university has a faculty and regular instructors/educators. If not, admissions to such Universities should be avoided. It may be noted that such Universities typically employ only administrative staff and their websites have no information in respect of faculty.
Also, they should see whether the university has a proper curriculum, hold regular classes and actively implement academic or educational activity. If not, admissions to such Universities may be avoided.
Students admitted to such Universities, even if in possession of regular student visa may be tried for violation of visa norms and subjected to detention and subsequent deportation from the US. (UNI)