Visa Challenges Restrain International Scientific Exchanges Amid STEM Labour Shortage


Several international students and researchers appear to be facing visa delays in entering Germany. According to education experts, such an issue is hampering the internationalisation of science and higher education.

This matter was discussed during the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment public hearing on February 21, 2024, reports.

The General Secretary of the Humboldt Foundation, Dr. Enno Aufderheide, said that the long process of granting visas to third-country academic nationals is causing great concern. He further added that the usual surveys of scientists after a stay in Germany show a decrease in the welcoming culture, as noted in a press release by the German government.

We urgently need to do something about this.

Dr Enno Aufderheide, Humboldt Foundation

Students Missing Start of Studies Due to Visa Delays, University Representatives Claim

Prof. Dr. Katrin Kinzelbach from Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen also raised the problem of visa issuance, noting that among 40,000 students at this university, one in five is an international student.

According to her, a university without internationalisation is inconceivable.

Speaking on the issue, Prof. Dr. Marc-Philippe Weller from the University of Heidelberg said that if students cannot enter the country in time due to visa delays, they will miss the start of their studies and face difficulties finding accommodation.

She also emphasised increasing efforts to construct international studentsโ€™ dormitories.

Things are stuck here at the moment. This is not a good reference for the Federal Republic abroad.

Prof. Dr Marc-Philippe Weller, University of Heidelberg

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. Angela Ittel-Polatschek (University Rectorsโ€™ Conference) urged the need to improve the language courses for international students. According to her, such a step would contribute to successful studies.

Among other measures, she also suggested establishing a legal basis that would make university access more flexible in all federal states.

โ€˜Highly Qualified Scientist Applications Should Be Processed Promptlyโ€™

This hearing relied on submissions from the coalition factions of the SPD, Alliance 90/The Greens and the FDP, the CDU/CSU, and AfD, as well as two briefings from the federal government.

Their proposal, among others, suggests further developing the internationalisation of higher education and research, according to a press release issued by the German authorities.

There is also a demand to de-bureaucratize and speed up the issuing of visas at German embassies and consulates for students and academics from third countries. Applications from highly qualified from scientists should also be examined more quickly.

German Bundestag

Regarding this issue, Anke Reiffenstuel, Commissioner for Foreign Education and Research Policy at the Foreign Ministry, said it will be resolved soon, as reported by the Table.Media newspaper.

Over 320k Missing Workers in STEM Positions in Germany

Germany has been facing a shortage of skilled workers in technical and natural science professions, as revealed by a study conducted by the German Economic Institute in 2022.

According to the report, in April 2022, the shortage of workers related to STEM was 320,600, nearly twice as high as the previous year.

Apart from STEM workers, Germany has been dealing with a shortage of workers in other fieldssuch as horticulture, tyre and vulcanisation technology, wood, furnishing, interior fitting, metalworking, and interior construction, as revealed in the 2022 Eures report on shortages and surpluses.

The report further showed that 87 per cent of family businesses in the country were suffering from the impact of worker shortages.


Source link