Issues international students have been facing in the past few months also include the closure of visa application centres around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students have not been able to either submit applications for their student visas or renew their existing ones since visa application centres have not been operating.
It’s safe to say that recently, numerous visa application centres have started reopening to countries like the UK, Denmark, France and Canada in Brunei, China, Cambodia, France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and India.
Although visa application centres have opened in certain countries of the world, no one can say for sure whether applicants will be experiencing delays in visa processing or appointments. This is because of social distancing measures as well as the excessive workload the centres are anticipated to receive.
Despite the ease in restrictions, not all countries have opened their visa application centres. Canada, for example, is only allowing applicants from centres in Spain, Thailand, France, and Australia, with pandemic management playing a big role in student visa application centres reopening.
According to Chief Executive of UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), Anne Marie Graham “there will undoubtedly be some backlog to work through, but it will be hugely beneficial for UK institutions in their planning for autumn intake, and in their communications to continuing and prospective students,” she told The PIE News.
Head of international engagement (Non-EU) at Universities UK International, Stephanie Harris, told The Pie News that the closure of visa application centres has posed an obstacle to international students wishing to study in the UK. “This progress means more students can confidently pursue their plans to study with us,” she said.
Additionally, VFS Global, an outsourcing and technology services company, released a statement saying that they will be prioritizing the safety of customers who visit their visa application centres, by practising all social distancing measures, including temperature checks.
“Your safety is our priority, so customers visiting our visa application centres may be asked to observe physical distancing, undergo temperature checks or be required to wear facemasks, subject to local authority guidelines,” the statement read. Updates regarding visa application centres reopening can be found on the VFS Global website.