U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced it will extend the suspension of certain requirements for F-1 nonimmigrant Haitian students who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti. This relief applies only to students whose country of citizenship is Haiti and who were lawfully present in the United States in F-1 status on Jan.12, 2010, and enrolled in an institution certified by ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
The original announcement was made in the Federal Register on Sept. 15, 2010, at 75 FR 56120. The current extension will enable eligible F-1 students to continue to obtain employment authorization, work an increased number of hours during the school term, and if necessary, reduce their course load while continuing to maintain their F-1 student status. The suspension of the regulatory requirements will remain in effect through Jan. 22, 2016.
"The extension of employment for Haitian students who have suffered the economic hardship from the earthquake in Haiti will permit them to focus on their education in the United States while easing the worry of a financial burden," said Louis Farrell, director for SEVP.
The ongoing devastation and unstable conditions caused by the earthquake in Haiti increased the financial burden on many of these students, who previously relied on assistance from the Haitian government or family members in Haiti to meet basic living expenses. While the Government of Haiti has made progress in improving security and quality of life of its citizens following the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti continues to lack the adequate infrastructure, employment and educational opportunities, and basic services. As of Feb. 3, there were 820 active F-1 Haitian students currently enrolled in SEVP-certified schools in the United States.
ICE manages SEVP, the program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Since 2003, SEVIS has automated the process for collecting, maintaining and managing information about nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors and their dependents during their stay in the United States.
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