Chinese students running WeChat businesses could face U.S. deportation

About 30 overseas Chinese students in Houston, Texas, could be deported for operating a private dining room and selling desserts on the social network WeChat, according to Beijing-based The Mirror.

Numerous Chinese people, including students holding F1 visas, in the United States provide shopping services and sell meals on the popular Chinese app, but have no idea that it violates regulations and laws. They could be forced to leave the U.S. and not allowed to reenter.

An officer from the Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Chinese students holding F1 visas can get jobs in the U.S. only under certain conditions. Before they are approved for F1 student visas, students must provide proof that they can afford tuition and living expenses in the country.

Only students who are recognized as having “financial hardship” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are allowed to be employed outside school, and they must have finished at least one year of coursework, the officer added.

Students are only allowed to get jobs on campuses, such as working in school canteens, coffee shops or as dormitory attendants. The work cannot exceed 20 hours a week and the salaries are relatively low.

But many Chinese students in the U.S. are running businesses on WeChat, said Xiao Zhong, an overseas student.

It is illegal for overseas students to run businesses on WeChat, said an overseas study consultant surnamed Huang, adding that only those with proper certificates can do business. She urged overseas students to understand the regulations in order to avoid deportation.

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