Christiane Schlottmann, director of DAAD‘s regional office, South Asia, told the Hindustan Times this week, “The recent years have witnessed a change in student mobility worldwide.
“Many students are seeking new destinations in Europe and even Asia itself, for example Singapore. Various factors like stringent visa rules, lack of employment opportunities after graduation and social threats in the traditionally popular destinations affect this trend.”
She said that other factors favouring Germany included the availability of international degree programmes taught in English; highly subsidised fees and scholarships; good career opportunities after graduation; and generous social security.
A government plan to launch the EU ‘Blue Card’ this year – a new permit broadening work and residence rights for international graduates – is likely to further the Indian interest in 2012.
The card promises, among other benefits, “unrestricted access” to the job market for one year – up from 90 days. The minimum annual income required to gain residence will also be lowered to 48,000 euros from 66,000 euros, while a holder can apply for a permanent settlement permit after two years.
The German minister of education, Annette Schavan, last month called the bill “an important welcome message to foreign students” that made the prospects of studying in Germany “even more attractive”.
Arun Jacob, Managing Director of the pan-Indian agency Array Globe, said that as major English-speaking markets such as the UK tightened visa conditions, Germany was becoming increasingly attractive to students.
“It’s almost a natural osmosis for an Indian to go to an English-speaking country. But when an English-speaking country starts tightening up on post-study work rights and visas then immediately students gravitate towards other areas,” he said.
“In this instance, when the education is subsidised and you have the ability to apply for your Blue Card and look at a long term settlement, that absolutely overcomes the negatives of the language barrier.”
German marketing efforts in India have become “active and aggressive”
He said that German marketing efforts in India had become more “active and aggressive” in the last few years, but Indian agents were yet to fully embrace Germany as a destination because its institutions did not offer commission fees.
However, he said, if the policy changed, hundreds of agents would be “hankering to sign up with German institutions”.
Germany also saw a rapid rise in the number of international students from Southern Europe studying German in 2011, according to the country’s premier language promoter, the Goethe Institute. Read the PIE News report here.