As international students worry about visas, read what experts think are the reasons for the delay

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Obtaining a visa, while going through a number of difficulties, brings enormous relief to travelers who wish to go abroad for a specific reason, which may relate to business, tourism, education or even a single visit. But that may not be the case for many students who cannot afford to postpone their studies due to visa delays.

Students bound for Canada and Australia face tough choices as no visas in sight

“The delay for study permits from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) is up to 12 weeks, but we have been waiting since January for the results of our visas. Our records have also not been checked,” said Akashdeep Singh, a resident of Punjab who wants to study in Canada. “Our files have been stuck in the backlog for months and many of us have already deferred our applications. If we don’t get the visa in time we will have to postpone again or withdraw altogether,” added Akashdeep, who said he only had 15 days to confirm his September admission to St. Clair College Windsor. for which he needs the study permit. .

Akashdeep’s case resonates not only with students heading to Canada, but also with those seeking academic opportunities elsewhere.

Sunny Patel, from Ahmedabad, who had applied for admission in July to Flinders University in Adelaide is also awaiting his Subclass 500 visa, although there is no end to the woes in sight.

“We more than 150 international students from India are waiting for our underclass student visa scholarship. We had all applied to Flinders University for July admission this year,” said Sunny, an engineer. “Our courses start from July 25 but our application has not yet been finalized by the Home Office in Australia. There is a lot of uncertainty around the outcome of the visa,” added Sunny, who wants to pursue a master’s degree in engineering.

The student visa (subclass 500) allows a person to stay in Australia for up to 5 years for the purpose of full-time study at an educational institution in accordance with their registration. The visa allows students to participate in an eligible program of study and include family members in their application. Students can also work up to 40 hours per 2 week period once their course begins.

Iranian students in the same boat

The visa delay case also affects India’s maritime neighbour, Iran. Many Iranian students also use the hashtag #helpIranianstudents to urge authorities in countries like Australia and Canada to make them more aware of their situation.

Mohammadhossein Esmaeli, a student from the capital of Tehran, is just as frustrated as his Indian counterparts. “Almost two years ago, I won the scholarships from the University of Queensland, Australia. I have been waiting for my student visa for almost 21 months. During this time, I used the postponement option twice to keep my scholarships but unfortunately I lost it a few days ago. I am very sad because I put my whole life on hold to be able to continue my studies but in the end I found myself exhausted,” said Mohammad, who submitted his application in November 2020.

Students facing arrears issues at a much higher percentage

Although thousands of students have been able to realize their dreams of studying abroad, the number of people facing visa arrears is much higher.

“60-70% of Indian students are currently facing the dilemma of visa backlog.

All major overseas educational destinations are experiencing a large backlog of visas due to the pandemic phase, shortage of processing officers and high volume of applications,” said Ajay Sharma, President and Founder of Abhinav Immigration Services.

All countries with their own problems

According to Mr. Sharma, all popular study destinations have their own set of problems. “Canada has a backlog of 2.7 million due to the pandemic and the introduction of the temporary pathway for war-affected Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers. British immigration authorities have had problems with a ton of visa backlogs; therefore, they are obliged to ask applicants to apply six months before the date of travel. Australia is also affected by border closures for two years and is currently facing a rapid influx of visa applications. And the United States is struggling to understand the post-pandemic hangover, immigrant visa bans by the Trump administration and struggling to recover from staff attrition,” Sharma said.

The situation in the United States is better than in countries like the United Kingdom

Others, like Kunal Mehra, international education consultant at Crimson Education India, believe the problem is more prevalent in countries like the UK than the US. “Visa processing delays have affected students going to the UK more than those heading to the US. If you see, US consulates are rushing visa appointments to allow more and more students to travel more easily in time for lessons. But in the case of the UK, where students can qualify for conditional offers if they achieve a minimum percentage, this becomes difficult. Delays in exams in India across different councils have prevented many students from accessing offers available at some UK colleges,” said Mr Mehra, who suggested that students could apply for academic support directly from universities while they wait for their visas.

The shortage of staff in embassies is a major problem

Visa consultants have pointed out that the embassy’s internal struggles have spilled over to overseas visits not only by students, but also by businessmen and tourists. “Embassies in India are facing a shortage of staff. If before the pandemic there were 10 employees, now there are 5. This has led to fewer applications being processed, while more of them are being submitted,” said Aseem Sharma, visa consultant at Jetsave. “Before Covid, people used to make their plans in days, but now it’s impossible to do the same. Visa applications for most European countries may be difficult to get approved at the moment,” Mr Aseem said. who added that more countries need to adopt visas on arrival as an alternative.


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