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Portugal eases student visa process

The Portuguese government has simplified the process for prospective international students to apply for visas to study in the country.

As of May 11, international students will skip visa applications. Photo: pexels

The University of Porto has more than doubled its international numbers in the past five years

As of May 11, international students will skip visa applications, which some stakeholders have labelled “bureaucratic and time-consuming”.

“The new law demonstrates the political will to foster the internationalisation of higher education”

According to The Portugal News, a measure in the next part of the government’s SIMPLEX+ Program aims to set up a “fast track for foreign students in Portugal”.

Since 2006, the Portuguese government has prioritised on its SIMPLEX+ Program, which has aimed to making everyday life easier for citizens and businesses.

Initiatives have included cutting red tape, reducing compliance costs and using ICT to deliver better public services, according to Lisbon.

A spokesperson from the University of Porto told The PIE News that the move is welcome news for the country’s institutions.

“Any measure that streamlines the entry of international students into the country will clearly facilitate the goal of attracting students into Portuguese universities,” they said.

However, it is hard to estimate the impact the measure will have on attracting international students, they added.

“The process of obtaining visas for this purpose has never been particularly difficult,” the spokesperson explained.

In the past five years, the University of Porto has more than doubled its international numbers, from 2,800 in 2014 to more than 5,900 from around 100 different countries, in the current academic year.

Students are attracted to the institution’s research and education quality and international ranking, as well as the quality of life in Porto and Portugal as a whole, they stated.

“The current procedure for obtaining a visa has not acted as a barrier to this growth; however, the new rules will, at least, make the experience less bureaucratic and time-consuming for our candidates, which is advantageous for all Portuguese universities,” they said.

“Most importantly, the new law demonstrates the political will of the Portuguese government to foster the internationalisation of Higher Education and to establish Portugal as a destination of excellence for students and researchers from all around the world.”

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