The Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday advised Indian students seeking admission in two universities -- Silicon Valley and North Western Polytechnic -- in California to defer their travel to the United States until the issue of deportation is sorted out with the US government.
"...the students seeking admission in aforementioned two institutions are advised to defer their travel to the United States," till the Indian government receives a response from the US government, the MEA said in the advisory issued on Wednesday for students travelling to the US.
In the last few days, the US deported several students who secured admission to the two universities. On Sunday, Air India barred 19 students from boarding their flight to San Francisco in Hyderabad on the grounds that the universities they are going to have no accreditation from the government, a claim that has been refuted by the two universities.
The Indian government has now contacted the US government in this regard and asked the students to not travel to the US to join Silicon Valley University (SLU) at San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic University (NPU) in Fremont, until the US sends a response.
"We have asked the US authorities to explain the reasons for denial of entry on a large scale to Indian students holding valid visas. The response of the US Government is awaited," the MEA advisory said.
"Till such time the matter is satisfactorily resolved, the students seeking admission in aforementioned two institutions are advised to defer their travel to the United States," it added.
The advisory also advised students "seeking admission in US educational institutions...to do due diligence to ensure that the institutions to which they are seeking admission have proper authorisation and capacities".
A day before the MEA issued the advisory, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that they have communicated with the US government and sought blacklisted universities' list that will soon be made public, The New Indian Express reported.
Students barred from travelling to the US
While barring students from boarding the flight to the US on Sunday, Air India said they received a communication from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency informing them about the deportation of students who had taken admission in the two universities.
"In the past, we have witnessed that students who secured admission in those institutions have been deported to India as soon as they land there," an Air India official had said.
"So far, 14 students who travelled on Air India flights to San Francisco have been deported," Air India said in a statement.
Whereas, Etihad Airways was next to prevent another group of 20 students from travelling to the US on Tuesday. The airline told the students that they cancelled their tickets following a communication from the US government in regards with the "blacklisted" US universities.
"The Etihad officials informed that our tickets have been cancelled. They said, there is a mail from the US government asking them not to allow any students pursuing studies at SVU and NPU to proceed," Mohemmed Imran, a student, told The New Indian Express reported.
The students said that they have spent a lot of money for admission. "I have paid $ 7,000 to the university as my fee for first semester. Another Rs 3 lakh has been spent towards the paper work. Who will refund my money if I lose this opportunity?" Ameer, a student from Hyderabad who has taken admission in NPU said.
Meanwhile, he US Ambassador to India, Richard Rahul Verma, said that US State and Homeland Security departments are investigating the matter.