New France Visa Policy For Indian Students Is Not What You Think It Is

New France Visa Policy For Indian Students Is Not What You Think It Is

Despite the development being lauded as a positive sign of growing India-France relations, sources working with French institutions told The Free Press Journal that Indian media outlets missed out on key details about the new policy.

Abhishek NairUpdated: Friday, July 21, 2023, 08:10 PM IST
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PM Modi joined French President Emmanuel Macron for Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on July 14, 2023. | File photo

Mumbai: Though the promise of a five-year post-study visa became a highlight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to France, sources close to French learning institutions have clarified the details of the announcement.

What PM Modi said

During his address to the Indian community in France, at LA Seine Musicale in Paris, PM Modi announced a new visa policy for students from India.

"The last time I came to France, it was decided that Indian students studying in France would be given a two-year post-study work visa. Now, it has been decided that Indian students pursuing Masters in France will be given a long-term post-study visa of five years," stated the Prime Minister, as per ANI.

'Five-year visa is not everyone is thinking'

Despite the development being lauded as a positive sign of growing India-France relations, sources working with French institutions told The Free Press Journal that Indian media outlets missed out on key details about the new policy.

"The five-year visa is not what everyone is thinking, unfortunately. In reality, alumni of French master degrees or students who did just an exchange semester in the country can apply for a short stay multiple entry visa to France, once back in India," said one French official, who is working with one of France's universities in India.

What MEA statement said about 'five-year' visa

A 'list of outcomes' concerning PM Modi's visit to France, published on the Ministry of External website, also addresses the five-year visa as a 'short-stay Schengen visa' as opposed to a work visa.

"Issuance of five-year validity short-stay Schengen Visa for Indians who are degree holders from French educational institutions (Masters and above)," said the statement by MEA. The outcome has been listed under the 'Cooperation for People-to-People Exchanges and Welfare' category by the Ministry.

New France visa policy only applicable for business, tourism

According to another official who works with a French government agency promoting higher education, and international student services, the new policy doesn't provide a work permit or a residence one.

"You can visit countries in the Schengen zone but only for a maximum of 90 days each time under this visa. It does not offer resident status, ability to work, or help a student hunt for employment," stated the official, who added that the new visa policy will allow tourism and business trips in the Schengen zone, which comprises European countries that have abolished border controls.

India key education market for France

India is one of the key markets for France as the former continues to send millions of students abroad for studies.

Catherine Colonna, the French foreign minister, in her visit to India in September 2022 highlighted that the country expects 20,000 Indian students in France by 2025.

The France-India roadmap as promoted by PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron has also focused on achieving the target of 30,000 Indian students in the European country by 2030. 

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