Allow foreign students from ‘red listed’ countries to enter EU states

Allow foreign students from ‘red listed’ countries to enter EU states

July 7, 2021
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Signatures: 2,714Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Shreya Paudel

In response to the novel COVID-19, the European Union (EU) has implemented a travel ban to third-country nationals from countries with extreme risk of transmission. The travel ban imposed on countries with extreme risk of transmission of the virus (which includes Brazil, Chile, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Colombia, Namibia, Malawi, Nepal, Zambia, and others), affects students greatly. Largely, it is only the EU citizens, their family members, and members of diplomatic missions that are exempt from this travel ban. The Council of European Union’s recommendation includes ‘travelling for purpose of study’ as a category to be exempt from the travel ban. However, the travel bans affect students disproportionately, in terms of the entry requirements, and visa processing status. For instance, the students from Nepal and India are exempt from the ban in Belgium, Germany, Austria, but can’t travel to the Czech Republic, France, Spain, and more.

As most European Universities prepare to go back to in-person learning in 2021, we are likely to miss enrollment to our courses and lose the attached scholarships—most of which are set to begin around August-end and September—without any provision of deferring the scholarship.

These bans may also take away opportunities of a lifetime away from some of us. A large proportion of students from the ’red’ categorized countries are beneficiaries of EU funded programs such as the ERASMUS Mundus Joint Masters Degree Program (EMJMD), and other government-funded scholarships (like Eifel, DAAD, Chevening, Orange program). In 2020 alone, 24% of the total EMJMD scholars were from these countries. Placement, and fully funded scholarships at European Universities for the students in these low-income countries are life-changing opportunities. These students are selected through rigorous and highly competitive procedures, and have invested an immense amount of time and effort to secure the opportunity, missing out on it is a big blow to their future prospects and maybe even their career. 

Similarly, many budding researchers have secured jobs and funding in universities across France and Spain but are not able to start work due to the travel ban. In at least 2 cases the funding has been revoked due to a lack of progress. The livelihoods of researchers hang in the balance due to the travel restrictions.

On behalf of all students and researchers from Nepal, India, Colombia, Malawi, Brazil, South Africa, Zambia, Peru, we would like to draw the attention of the Council of European Union, the Delegations of European Union and request them;

  • to facilitate the exemption of students from the travel ban;
    to urge embassies and consulates to prioritize and expedite visa processing for study purposes; and
    to allow vaccinated students to enter the European Countries.

We are willing to oblige to all testing, and quarantine requirements following our entry to the host country. #studyisessential

Thank you for reading, we hope that if you empathize with those trying to enter Europe and that you will take the time to sign! 

Shreya Paudel (Nepal).

On behalf of the foreign students and researchers from ‘red listed’ countries admitted to the European universities for the university year 2021-2022. 

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Signatures: 2,714Next Goal: 5,000
Support now