The European Union (EU) is increasingly becoming a key destination for undergraduate and graduate studies. According to the Indian government’s statistics, more than 1.6 lakh Indian students have chosen European countries as their destination for higher studies. For example, with 35,000 students, Germany is the most attractive study destination amongst all European countries.
As a result of the Ukraine conflict, students uprooted from studies are exploring the EU as an alternative, also due to the cost effectiveness, compared to traditional Anglo-Saxon countries such as the US, UK, and Australia. Increasingly, European universities are offering courses in the English language and work exploration visas for students in countries such as Germany, the EU is fast overtaking even the UK as an attractive student destination.
Moreover for the 18,000 Indian students displaced due to the Ukraine conflict, the EU is the best immediate alternative for them to complete their studies.
In an exclusive interaction with Financial Express Online, German Ambassador Dr Phillip Ackermann in New Delhi says: “We have now 35,000 Indian students in Germany, which is a huge number and this number is exploding. Students from India prefer to go to Germany. And, this number will grow.”
Number of students going to Germany and visa delay
“I think I would be not surprised to see in the next two, three years 50,000 students from India choosing Germany. But we have to be a bit careful, because as you know, sometimes this very generous admittance policy is exploited,” Dr Ackermann explains.
Adding, “We detect about 10-15 per cent of fraud.”
The current visa backlog is a huge deterrent but embassies have been assuring time and again that over the next couple of months, these will be sorted.
“Of course, that happens, I mean, everyone wants to suddenly become a student and go there. There are agencies which are trying to sell different packages in the north western region. And to deal with this situation, we have now introduced an academic assessment institution that pre checks and fits the candidate. This is an additional step and for this there is an additional fee which is not big. But once you get through this procedure, you are vetted for good,” he explains.
However, stricter checks and procedures such as ATS certificates for Germany have been introduced against fraudulent documentation and sham admissions.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID 19, there is a backlog of visas. However before the year ends, the envoy expressed confidence that the waiting time will be short, the envoy added.
What should the student applying for a visa keep in mind?
According to the German envoy every student should bear it in mind that the procedure that leads to this visa needs a couple of weeks. It is not something that is done overnight. Every student should be aware that you need three to four months before getting the visa. This is very important because you have to verify step by step with the German authorities. And then there is one step which is completely out of our hands, once you issue the visa. The state in Germany, like the Indian state has to check with the local authorities, is agreeing to this. Now this is normally not a problem. But this process takes three weeks. And it is a silent procedure. So basically, if you don’t hear after three weeks from the local authorities, the visa is granted. But you have to wait for three weeks.”
Why do you think students are looking towards Germany?
According to him, “I think after COVID people wanted to go. There are influencers, there are students who have had good experiences and share on different YouTube channels. So now we have 35,000 Indians in cities in Germany. These influencers have 80,000 or 100,000 followers on different social media platforms.”
Work in Germany?
Once you finish your studies and have a degree in hand you get 12 months to look for a job there. And you get jobs very fast as there are opportunities.
“Basically in Germany now when you finish your study with acceptability marks, you have a job guarantee as the labour market is looking for good people. For instance I met this young student from Haryana and she passed out with good marks from a small university. She got a job in no time, and she gets a good salary,” shared the German envoy.