The Indian Embassy in Washington has launched an email helpline to provide the Indian students, affected by the immigration scam of Tri Valley University in California, with necessary guidance.

The Indian Embassy in Washington on Saturday posted on its website — www.indianembassy.org — an advisory to the students of Tri Valley University (TVU) and asked them to write to minca@indiagov.org and edu@indiacgny.org to seek guidance from the Indian authorities.

“The Embassy of India in Washington, DC has taken up with the U.S. State Department the issue of Tri Valley University in California, so as to ensure that Indian students are not subjected to any kind of discrimination or victimisation,” the advisory said.

“The Embassy along with the Consulate General in San Francisco have set up a dedicated email address to enable the affected students to communicate and seek guidance from the Indian authorities,” it said.

According to a federal complaint filed in a California court last week, the University helped foreign nationals illegally acquire immigration status.

The university is said to have 1,555 students.

As many as 95 per cent of these students are Indian nationals, a federal complaint said.

According to information available here, about 140 visas were issued directly to Indian students for studying at this university.

However, many students it seems had transferred themselves to this university from other universities in the US.

This increased the number of students registered at this university.

Federal agencies here claim that this so called university was not conducting full time courses and registered students were not doing full time studies. This has caused violation of their visa status.

Indian authorities have pointed out that this university appears to have been authorised by the U.S. system to issues I20 forms, and in any case U.S. consulates in India had issued visas for students to study here after their due scrutiny.

“Therefore the students should not be victimised in any way,” Indian authorities said on Saturday.

The students who have been in touch with the Embassy and the Consulate General in San Francisco and New York have requested that they be permitted to apply for transfer to other university and be given sufficient time for this.

Alternatively they may be permitted to go back to India, without prejudice, and not be deported and also be allowed in normal course to reapply for studies in the U.S. at authorised universities.

The Indian Embassy has strongly taken up this request with the U.S. State Department and other authorities.

The U.S. authorities have also suggested that students with visas for studies at Tri Valley University, who are presently in India, should not travel to the U.S. on this visa.

It is expected that the response of U.S. authorities to the request from the students, supported by the Indian government, could be available next week.

Meanwhile, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco has also come out with a notice for the Indian students affected by the Tri Valley University immigration fraud.

In its notice, the Indian Consulate in San Francisco said that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is expected to bring out a detailed advisory for all students of Tri Valley University sometime next week which will be available on its website.

“It will provide guidance to eligible students regarding what they can do to seek admission in other schools.

There will be no blanket reactivation of SEVIS. It will be done on a case by case basis,” the Consulate clarified in its memo posted on its website — www.cgisf.org.

“ICE has suggested that all students of TVU, wherever they are, should report to the nearest ICE office for instructions. Eligible students will also have the option of seeking voluntary deportation after which they can again apply to other schools in the U.S.,” the consulate said.

“Those students who are presently in India with TVU sponsored Visas should not travel to the United States. They can apply to other universities and, if admitted, can apply for new visas,” the consulate advised.

The Indian Consulate said ICE has advised that students thoroughly research the credentials of a university before applying for admission.

They must ensure that the university is not only accredited at the Federal but also at the State level, it said. Since TVU was not accredited by the above Department, its credits cannot be used for transfer to other universities.

“They will need to seek admissions afresh,” it added.

“For students who came to the U.S. very recently or transferred from other accredited universities to TVU or had lawful status in the U.S. (for example H4) and are now holding F1 visas sponsored by TVU, should present their cases to ICE.

“Those students who are found by ICE not to be in violation of any visa or immigration laws are most likely to be given opportunity to adjust their status,” the Consulate said. The Consulate also posted a link to a Department of Justice website for free immigration services help.

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