Foreign students flouting visa rules
Posted on February 6, 2014
“An important notice for those students who are interesting in joining engineering courses in GNTUH (JNTU- Hyderabad) for cheap fees. For details please call…” reads a typographical error-filled post of a foreign student of Osmania University on a social networking site.
Several such ‘services’ are being offered by foreign students in the city. Catering to the growing foreign student community, such ‘entrepreneurs’ earn anywhere between Rs.10,000 and Rs.30,000 on a monthly basis, despite the fact that visa rules prohibit foreign students from working in the country.
Social networking platforms are replete with posts that give a peek into the various services and jobs that foreign students are taking up. Some claim specialization in a particular cuisine, others ‘guarantee’ seats in educational institutions while others exchange currencies.
When TOI responded to one of the posts which promised admission in a reputed city college, it found that “help” is extended to prospective foreign students only as the admission process was difficult. Further queries on the nature of services being provided was only met with a “meet to discuss” response.
Students who studied in the city described how some of their peers made big money ‘serving’ the foreign student community. “When I decided to come to Hyderabad for education, one of the students here from my country handled my admission process. He charged a commission of Rs 15,000 a few years ago. He was dealt with finding homes for rent and provided accommodation to me,” said Fatimeh, a graduate from Osmania University.
Another student said that those who sell food not only operate in Tarnaka and Vidya Nagar area, but also cater to students located in areas as far as Nizampet. Posts reveal that a dish costs at least Rs 100 while a separate menu is prepared for every day of the week.
Officials of the Bureau of Immigration confirmed that the student visa does not allow a foreign student to work. “India student visa rules make it illegal for a foreign student to work. If caught, their visa may be cancelled and the student could be deported,” an official said, adding that the department is aware of the fact that foreign students from certain countries have been working in the city in contravention of visa rules.
However, university administrations and police have no checks in place to ensure that visa rules are not flouted. “Foreign students do not constitute an organized work force and usually do not work here. We have not come across any instances of students working,” said joint commissioner of police, Special Branch, B Malla Reddy.
Jan 28, 2014