While the pandemic situation refuses to relent and international flights are yet to resume completely, students from Punjab are taking advance admissions in foreign universities, particularly in Canada and UK, like its business as usual. Several consultants who facilitate admissions in foreign universities in the state said that seats in the majority universities and colleges are already “full till January 2021” and “now students have started booking seats for May 2021 intake”.
Earlier, several students whose visas were approved but travel plans scuttled due to the lockdown in March had deferred their courses for September and January intakes. However, now the process for fresh applications is on in full swing.
“We are getting a large number of fresh applications from students who have cleared their IELTS in 2018 and 2019 as IELTS is valid for two years. In majority of colleges in Canada, seats have already got filled in courses preferred by the students from Punjab till January next year. Now, we have started processing the files for the May courses,” said Hardeep Singh of a consultancy service, Harnidh Overseas Pathway. He added that Canada is the most favourite destination for the Punjab students because of good settlement opportunities there following the completion of studies.
Due to Covid-19, biometrics of students is not possible because of which visa process has been divided into two parts by the Canadian government. In the first step, they can get Visa Approval in Principle (AIP) after meeting the conditions for admission like clearing of IELTS and submitting a year’s fee. In the second part of visa approval, they are required to provide their biometrics, police report, and medical. Students will get visa only after clearance of the second step.
“There would be very remote chances of refusal of visa in the second step if students get cleared in the first step. Even relaxation has been given on medical ground by providing 12-16 weeks time to submit their medical report in case there is any health issue,” said Gulshan Kumar of VIEC Jalandhar, a consultancy for overseas studies.
He added: “Most students are communicating with the universities and colleges regarding the refund policy in case of refusal of a visa to them in step two, and they are quite forthcoming.”
One overseas consultant said that universities abroad are quite liberal as they do not want to lose their huge income in the form of fee from Indian students and they are promoting advance seats booking in their respective institutes and even taking the risk of processing refunds.
Harpreet Singh, a student who had decided to move ahead with his admission process after getting an assurance of refund in case of visa denial, said: “I had cleared my IELTS in 2018 which is valid up to two years and now I have decided to process my file for admission in business management course in Canada. I have not got a seat in the January intake as there are no vacant seats.”
Harmanpreet Kaur, who cleared her Class 12 recently, has also started the process to get a seat next year in a UK college. For admission to the course of her choice in UK, IELTS is not mandatory, only 65 per cent marks in English are required in Class 10 and 12.
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