As a consequence of COVID-19 travel bans and lockdown restrictions imposed by many countries across the world, thousands of foreign students are at risk of losing their study opportunities at international universities, if embassies do not begin processing student visas as soon as possible.
Hundreds of students from Bangladesh set to leave their country to pursue their studies abroad, have constantly been highlighting the challenges they are facing due to delays with visa application processes. The German Embassy in Dhaka is among those embassies which remain inactive regarding the student visa application processing.
In an attempt to have their voices and concerns heard, students from Bangladesh have joined a social media campaign, alongside with other students from different world countries who for months now have been urging embassies and other important bodies to help in solving their visa problem, so they would be allowed to start or continue studies at certain universities.
United under the hashtag #EducationIsNotTourism in social media, mainly on Twitter, Bangladesh students expected to head to Germany for studying, are calling on the German Embassy in Dhaka and the German MFA to prevent delays and resume processing student visa applications. Many of them stress out that they have been waiting for a visa response, an interview or an appointment, for several months not, or even more than a year.
In this regard, the Embassy has issued a statement which announces that the Embassy is granting visas only to those heading to Germany for essential purposes. Following this, the student visa applications should also be processed as the German Foreign Affairs Ministry has included travelling to Germany for studies as an essential entry purpose.
However, according to the Embassy’s statement, many students could still face delays and be unable to get their visas on time.
“We have proactively implemented measures and developed plans to prioritise the health and well-being of our team and our customers and will therefore discontinue non-essential visa and consular services until further notice. Appointments for national visas already arranged during this period will be re-scheduled by the Embassy,” the Embassy notes.
Lately, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has expressed its support regarding the demand of the foreign students to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on issuing student visas. DAAD has called on the Federal MFA for acceleration on visa procedures for students expected to start or continue their studies in Germany, noting through a tweet that the MFA has reacted positively to their request.