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Dhaka Tribune

US visa issuance suspension: Prospective students lose scholarships, assistance

A group of students aspiring to study in US holds a press conference Saturday

Update : 17 Oct 2020, 05:18 PM

Many students aspiring to study at different US universities are awaiting student visas while some of them have already missed their admission, scholarship, and teaching assistantship.

A group of prospective graduate students held a press conference to this end on Saturday.

Soumitra Das , a prospective student, said they analyzed the data from past years and collected some data from a few prospective students groups on social media.

“We estimated that more than 3,000 students are waiting for their visas and approximately 20% of them lost their scholarship, teaching assistantship, and admission,” he said.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US Embassy in Dhaka did not resume regular visa services, except for renewal of existing visas without interviews recently.

As a result,  a large number of students, who have been accepted for the Fall 2020 session at different US universities this year, could not fly to the US to start their classes.

Some students have lost their admissions. And some are attending classes online and the majority had to defer to Spring 2021 as it is not possible for every student to do their courses online.

Rakiba Sultana, a prospective student, said the main obstacle for the aspiring students to the US who could not make it to their universities is that the US embassy in Bangladesh is not issuing new F-1 visas for the students due to the Covid-19 situation.

“It is not possible for me to go on with the online classes since I have to attend labs in person for my teaching assistantship,” she said.

They also expressed fears that the universities were highly likely to replace their positions with candidates from neighboring countries – such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – as new F-category US visas were being issued in those countries.

The representatives of the students also met the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr AK Abdul Momen regarding the issue and he assured them that he would bring up the issue with the US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun, who is currently on a visit to Bangladesh.

The prospective students have already contacted US Embassy Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina regarding their visa fiasco.

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