International students looking to study in Germany face growing hurdles to securing visas as their appointments take a long to be set. At 24 German embassies and diplomatic missions in 2018, students had to wait over eight weeks before they received an appointment to even apply for a visa, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper reported.
Students in India, Morocco and Cameroon had to wait over a year before getting a visa appointment to study in Germany, according to a report. The Greens slammed the growing wait times as “discouraging and demotivating.”
The data stems from the German Ministry of education and research, responding to a parliamentary inquiry lodged by the greens.
In some dire cases, students have had to wait for over a year for their visa appointment, the ministry said. The bureaucratic delays appear to be growing worse, as the year before only students applying for visas in the Iranian capital of Tehran had to wait over a year for their appointments.
The only German embassies that didn’t have long delays for students were in Egypt, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. For all other countries, long waiting times had become the norm. The delays are the bureaucratic hurdles that are driving off scientists and researchers.
Kai Gehring, the Greens’ spokesman for research and higher education policy said that multi-month visa waiting times are unacceptable and have a discouraging and demotivating effect for international talent.
According to the government’s latest migration report, there are currently 400,000 foreign students enrolled in German universities.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is pushing to make Germany more attractive for international experts and skilled laborers. A new immigration law, which is set to take effect in March, aims to make it easier for them to enter the country and find work. But with highly qualified students already facing long delays to apply for visas, the notions sparks skepticism about the government being able to follow through on their plans.