Study plans for abroad shattered as Visa application processing halted across Punjab

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu
| Chandigarh |

Published: April 19, 2020 3:56:34 am

There are more than one lakh student whose files for visa processing. (Representational Photo)

Prabhjeet Singh of Zirakpur, who is on a study visa to Sydney, Australia, had returned to India in October last year, and had planned to take his wife back with him in April on a study-spouse visa. However, his plan has now been spoiled now, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic.

Singh is not the only student, whose plan of moving abroad have been affected. As per migration agents and experts, more than one lakh students in Punjab have been forced to stay back and wait till the global lockdown lifts.

“I had planned to take my wife to Australia, for which she had to undergo a medical fitness test and other documentation for the visa process which was to be done at VFS global. But now since VFS centres are not functioning, the whole process is on halt,” said Singh.

Nikhil Saini, another student from Chandigarh, is also waiting for the lockdown to end, to lodge his file for a Canadian visa. Saini was to fly to Canada in March to start a course in web designing and programming at a university in Montreal, Quebec. He has already paid his fee to college, and the GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) which is around 10,000 Canadian Dollars. “I had paid my fee in February, and my classes were to begin from April onwards at the University in Montreal. But then the university asked me to join in May. If the lockdown doesn’t open in May as well, my intake will be deferred to September. The biggest issue, however, is the validity of IELTS exam score, which will expire in August,” added Saini.
Anish Gupta, migration expert for Australia, Canada, Europe, USA, said that the migration business has come to a halt as the authorities are not functioning, the borders are sealed, and flights are halted.

“There are more than one lakh student whose files for visa processing as are hung at present, as the medical fitness test cannot be conducted. Fees also cannot be sent to the college because VFS centres are not working even though banks are fully functional,” said Gupta.

Even those who have obtained visas cannot fly as flights are cancelled, and even parents of many students are dilemma whether to send their child abroad or not, she added.

Australia universities admit students in June and September. For students going to Canada, the intakes are available in May, September, and January next year. If the lockdown does not open soon, the students and people who are forced to stay here will surely have to reschedule their plans. The migration industry will also be facing a deep economic loss, said Gupta.

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