International students from the United Kingdom are experiencing visa delays, with some of them being uncertain if they can keep their spot at Spanish universities for the academic year that will begin in September.
Spain is one of the most attractive study destinations for British students, with almost 4,500 being enrolled every year, Erudera.com reports.
However, due to Brexit, Britons, including students, now have to apply for a visa in order to study at their universities in EU countries.
Due to complications that British students have encountered in getting a study visa for Spain for the upcoming academic year, the UK Universities, the advocate organisation for about 100 universities, has asked the Spanish embassy and the Foreign Office if students can apply in Spain.
A spokesperson for the UK government commented on the matter saying this is the Spanish embassy’s responsibility claiming the same have taken the issue to the Spanish government.
On the other hand, Ella Perret, a graduate student at one of the Madrid universities is supposed to travel to Madrid to obtain her law degree. However, she says she hasn’t booked her flight since she doesn’t know if she’s going.
Perret started her process in June as the application for a visa, which among others include a medical certificate, proof of financial situation, a criminal-record check, proof of admission at a Spanish university, must be submitted within the 90 days before departure.
These procedures have cost Ella hundreds of pounds, that she says she is tempted to just say she won’t be going.
Vivienne Stern of Universities UK also claims that these delays have caused anxiety on British students and that the organisation is open to work with the Spanish embassy and the Foreign Office to find a solution.
In a letter sent to the latter authorities, Stern proposes a temporary solution which would allow students to travel on a tourist visa for the start of the year and submit their paperwork for a student visa while in Spain.
“This is the first academic year that student visas are needed after Brexit; therefore, British students and universities need to get used to the new regulation and the necessity of applying for a visa, and some adaptation time is still needed,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain representative said.
On the other hand, the British University Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that about 2,610 of enrolments admitted in the 2019-2020 academic year came from Spain, accounting for ten per cent more students than the previous year. Spain is the fifth country with most students in the UK, right after China, Hong Kong, France and Malaysia.
The Turing Scheme is a new UK programme which provides funding for students to obtain education and training across the world. Through this scheme, all UK organisations from the higher and vocational education, as well as training and other school sectors can offer their students experiences to study or work abroad.
The £110 million fund will be allocated to help more than 120 universities and over 200 schools and colleges in the United Kingdom, with 48 percent of places going to students coming from a disadvantaged background.