WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama authorized spending up to $15 million on humanitarian relief for refugees of the conflicts in Libya and the Cote d’Ivoire, while easing working restrictions on Libyan students studying at U.S. colleges and universities.
The money authorized by Obama comes from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund. To date, the president has released $42 million from the fund to assist refugees in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire.
Noting the conditions in Libya, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it is unsafe for many F-1 visa holders to return home and that those who rely on funding from the Libyan government or on family members in Libya would need greater flexibility to work to meet basic living expenses.
ICE estimates that there are 2,000 Libyan students currently studying in the United States on F-1 nonimmigrant visas. Under the temporary rules adopted by ICE, undergraduates can seek off-campus work as long as they are registered for six quarter hours per term. Graduate students, who are often employed as teaching assistants, need only be registered for three semester hours per term.
In addition, F-1 students will no longer have to wait one year before seeking off-campus employment nor will they be limited to working 20 hours per week.