U.S. keeping tabs on foreign students
The Borneo Post - Sat, 4 January 2003

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WASHINGTON: The United States Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) has launched a system that keeps track of foreign students entering and studying in the US.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), requiring all universities to comply after Jan 30, this year, will give the INS the ability to monitor students as soon as they step foot on US soil, and to ensure that they actually attend universities where they have registered.

Fifteen of the 19 terrorists involved in the Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington entered the US on student visas.

There are an estimated 6,000 Malaysian students currently studying in the US, but there is no figure yet on the Spring intake which begins early next week.

Some students, accepted into US universities, are being held back because of visa problems.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi brought up the visa issue with top US officials when he visited Washington late last year. The US Congress requires the INS to keep up-to-date information on about one million foreign students and exchange visitors during the course of their stay in the US.

Under the new system, universities are required to issue SEVIS I-20 forms to all new students and to current students who need new I-20 because of changes in their enrolment. By Aug 1, this year, schools must enter data into the SEVIS about students enrolled before Jan 30, this year, including their addresses. The SEVIS applies to visa categories F (academic students), J (exchange visitors) and M (non-academic students).

Universities are also required to report to the INS should students fail to enrol. - Bernama