Politics

International students made to wait months for German visas

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Via Deutsche Welle

International students looking to study in Germany face growing hurdles to securing visas, according to a report on Thursday.

At 24 German embassies and diplomatic missions in 2018, students had to wait over eight weeks before they received an appointment to even apply for a visa, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper reported.

The data stems from the German Ministry of Education and Research, responding to a parliamentary inquiry lodged by the Greens.

In some cases, students had to wait over a year for their visa appointment, the ministry said, adding that the longest waits were logged in India, Morocco and Cameroon.

The bureaucratic delays appear to be growing worse, as the year before, only students applying for visas in the Iranian capital of Tehran had to wait over a year for their appointments.

The only German embassies that didn’t have long delays for students were in Egypt, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. For all other countries, long waiting times had become the norm.

Read more: Germany ranks poorly for international academics

Driving off ‘international talent’

The Greens criticized the delays, arguing that the bureaucratic hurdles are driving off scientists and researchers.

“Multi-month visa waiting times are unacceptable and have a discouraging and demotivating effect for international talent,” Kai Gehring, the Greens’ spokesman for research and higher education policy, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

According to the government’s latest migration report, there are currently 400,000 foreign students enrolled in German universities.

In 2017, the largest group of international students came from China, followed by India and the United States. Students from Syria were also among the top-enrolled groups.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is pushing to make Germany more attractive for international experts and skilled laborers. A new immigration law, which is set to take effect in March, aims to make it easier for them to enter the country and find work.

But with highly-qualified students already facing long delays to apply for visas, the Greens voiced skepticism about the government being able to follow through on their plans.

rs/msh  (AFP, epd)

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