Tens of thousands of Indian students are struggling to obtain visas, and India sought fast-tracking of the visa process on Friday with senior diplomats of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.
External affairs ministry officials dealing with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, the UK and US had "constructive discussions" with heads of missions and senior diplomats about "streamlining student visas to Indian nationals", external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
He also tweeted that diplomats "agreed to remain engaged on further easing [and] fast-tracking the process since the flow of students has been mutually beneficial."
The ministry decided to take up the matter formally after receiving numerous complaints from students seeking visas either to return to educational institutions abroad following the easing of travel restrictions related to Covid-19 or to enroll in new courses.
According to the sources, officials from the ministry of external affairs raised these issues strongly with foreign diplomats and requested predictability in the visa issuance process.
Additionally, officials called for fast-tracking visa issuance and effective communication strategies to inform students about current developments, they said.
It was also stressed that such steps would help bilateral relations by the Indian side.
It is widely believed that tens of thousands of students are having problems with visas, although there are no official figures available as of yet.
Since the easing of travel restrictions for tourists and other categories of travellers, the private companies processing visa applications for most Western nations have been swamped with applications. Some Western countries have lengthy visa application waiting periods of several months.