Woo­ing Chi­nese stu­dents with re­laxed visa rules

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai

zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily. com.cn

The prom­ise of less painful visa ap­pli­ca­tion pro­cesses were high­lighted as one of the main sell­ing points by many of the over­seas schools that par­tic­i­pated in the China In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai on May 15.

A num­ber of coun­tries such as France and Canada have in re­cent months re­laxed their visa poli­cies in what looks to be an at­tempt to at­tract Chi­nese stu­dents who are seek­ing over­seas ed­u­ca­tion. China has for sev­eral years been the world’s largest sup­plier of stu­dents to for­eign ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tutes.

The French Em­bassy in China an­nounced on May 12 that un­der­grad­u­ate stu­dents from top Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties who are headed to France for ex­change or dou­ble de­gree pro­grams will for the first time in his­tory be ex­empted from a visa in­ter­view. More­over, awardees of a gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ship by ei­ther France, China or any coun­try in the Euro­pean Union will be ex­empted from pay­ing the visa ap­pli­ca­tion fee.

Canada also is­sued a new rul­ing in April stip­u­lat­ing that for­eign stu­dents no longer have to sub­mit proof of their par­ents’ in­comes when ap­ply­ing for stu­dent visas.

Mean­while, the Bri­tish Con­sulate has an­nounced that those who have earned a PhD in the United King­dom will be granted a work visa that is valid for two years. In ad­di­tion, grad­u­ates with busi­ness plans can com­pete for the en­trepreneur­ship visa that has a one-year va­lid­ity.

“Not all uni­ver­si­ties have quota for such visas. We have 15 head­counts for such visas this year,” said Jin Jing, se­nior pro­mo­tion man­ager of Anglia Ruskin Univer­sity in East Eng­land.

An in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese stu­dents are opt­ing for un­der­grad­u­ate stud­ies abroad these days. Ac­cord­ing to statis­tics­fromChina’sMin­istry­ofE­d­u­ca­tion, the num­ber of stu­dents go­ing abroad breached 500,000 in 2015, mak­ing China the largest sup­plier of stu­dents to schools in some Western coun­tries such as the United States, the United King­dom, Aus­tralia and Canada.

More than 120,000 Chi­nese stu­dents left for Canada to fur­ther their stud­ies last year, up 11.6 per­cent year-on-year, while 71,000 ob­tained stu­dent visas for the UK, up 10 per­cent year-on-year.

“The growth rate may seem to have slowed down when com­pared to 15 and 13 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous two years, but the pop­u­la­tion base is ac­tu­ally be­com­ing big­ger,” said Lu Zhi­jian, an ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer with the Bri­tish Con­sulate Gen­eral in Shang­hai.

Li Weip­ing, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion in Shang­hai, ex­pects the num­ber of Chi­nese stu­dents study­ing over­seas to grow in the fol­low­ing few years.

Uni­ver­si­ties from some coun­tries which made their de­but at the ex­hi­bi­tion, such as Poland, Hun­gary and the United Arab Emi­rates, used schol­ar­ships and promis­ing ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­pete for en­roll­ment.

For in­stance, out­stand­ing stu­dents who earn gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ships at Hun­gar­ian uni­ver­si­ties will be ex­empted from tuition and ac­com­mo­da­tion fees and be given an al­lowance rang­ing from 130 eu­ros ($147) to 325 eu­ros per month.

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