India raises student visa delays with US, UK, Canada, other countries
Amid complaints of delay in visa process by several Indian students, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday summoned ambassadors/deputy heads of missions of eight countries, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany, and asked them to “streamline the process”. ” and “fast-track”.
The Ministry of External Affairs said, “Senior officials of the Ministry of External Affairs working with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, UK and USA have discussed with the respective missions of these countries on streamlining student visas for Indian nationals.” Had constructive discussions with chiefs/senior diplomats.” Affairs official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted. “They agreed to continue to make the process easier and fast-tracked, as the flow of students has been mutually beneficial,” he said.
Sources told The Indian Express that the Ambassadors and Deputy Heads of Missions of these eight countries along with officials of the Ministry of External Affairs-Joint Secretaries dealing with these countries “strongly raised the issue of student visas”. According to sources, Indian officials asked him to do “three things” to streamline the process: “ensuring predictability, speeding up the visa process and communicating with student visa applicants in a timely manner”.
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Sources said the Indian side, which usually does not interfere in visa issues of foreign countries as granting visas is considered a sovereign decision, was forced to step in as the number of pleas by Indian students was “very high”. Was.
Students, who have already paid their fees for academic programs, are reaching out to these Embassies/High Commissions as visa slots are not available or they are waiting for their visas, and many have complained about the lack of response from them. I have complained. foreign mission.
A Western diplomat told The Indian Express that the missions are facing an unprecedented amount of applicants due to post-pandemic tourism as well as student, employment and business travel. “We have limited resources, and there is an issue of capacity in our mission. It is not because of a lack of will, but because of a lack of capacity that we are not able to process as many applications as we need to with tight times.” are meeting in the border,” the diplomat said.
The pressure on the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Germany missions is high, as these countries are the preferred destinations for education.
While the number of student visa applicants is not available, data shared by the Ministry of External Affairs in Parliament in July 2021 showed that there were 2,11,930 Indian students in the US; 55,465 in the UK; 92,383 in Australia; 2,15,720 in Canada; and 20,810 in Germany.
While the Indian government’s Bureau of Immigration has data on all students going abroad on student visas, there is currently no database on the number of students awaiting visas.