France courts Indian students

July 09, 2013


France has announced targeted policies to attract more higher education students from India, including streamlined visa applications and more generous post-study visa rights.


France has announced targeted policies to attract more higher education students from India, including streamlined visa applications and more generous post-study visa rights.

The French Ambassador to India, François Richier has announced that from July 14, any Indian citizens that have graduated from a French higher education institution and are subsequently applying for a tourist or business visa will be granted a visa with a long period of validity – up to five years for postgraduate students.

The Embassy of France in India has simplified visa procedures and will give special attention to students living far from any French consulate or Campus France office to expedite procedures. It was also announced that Campus France, the government agency promoting French education, would add two more locations in India – Lucknow and Dehradun – in addition to the current nine offices across the county, and establish partnerships with several Indian higher education institutions to accelerate exchange opportunities.

Ambassador Richier said the policies were specific to India, and denied the moves were a timely attempt to attract Indian students as the UK was tightening visa rules. “It is about opening our arms and hearts for Indian students by facilitating their stay, not only in their visa area, but other things like training [and] taking care of jobs when they are back in India,” he told the Times of India.

In 2013, the Embassy of France in India, along with its corporate partners, is awarding scholarships worth €1.1 million (US$1.4 million) for Indian students to study in France.

Furthermore, the Embassy is establishing a France-India Job Opportunities network that will bring together the human resource heads of major French companies working in India and major Indian companies working in partnership with French firms in order to promote opportunities for Indian students educated in France. The Embassy said there were over 350 French companies in India, employing around 240,000 workers.

In 2012, almost 2,600 Indian students headed to France for higher education courses, a 50 per cent increase over five years ago, according to the Embassy. During a state visit to India in February, President François Hollande said he hoped to increase this figure by a further 50 per cent in the next five years.

Last year, the then newly elected President Hollande reversed the previous administration’s tougher visa rules in order to make it easier for non-EU students to secure post-study work visas.

Most of the Indian students in France are pursuing courses delivered in English, said the Embassy. As previously reported, France is considering plans to allow more courses to be taught in English.

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