The arrest of 129 Indians in the US for enrolling themselves at a fake university, allegedly to stay in the country has brought the "Pay-to-stay scheme" into the spotlight. The immigration attorneys have claimed that the youths were not aware of the university's illegitimate operation. However, the fate of the students remains unclear.
In what the authorities claim to be a scheme, fraudulent universities help with documents for visa to foreign nationals who are willing to pay.
Under the "scheme", the students who enter the country will not attend any actual classes, earn credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree. The sole intention behind enrolling in a fake university is to fraudulently maintain their student visa status and to obtain work authorization under the Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
CPT is temporary employment authorization for F-1 visa non-immigrant foreign students in the United States while enrolled in a college-level degree program. In order to study in the US, students must secure F-1, M-1 or J-1 visas after getting approval from universities authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. After obtaining an F-1 visa, the student must attend the accredited programs.
If a student manages to find a job within 60 days after the programme, he/she can remain in the country by obtaining a work visa. If they fail to get a job, they will have to leave the country within two months after the course ends.
According to recent reports from the Institute for International Education, there are over 1 million foreign students in the US.