Australia is fast becoming the preferred destination for many Bhutanese students to pursue their higher education, but getting the Australian visa is becoming harder, this was a concern raised by the Lamgong-Wangchang MP during the question hour session of the National Assembly. He asked what government is doing to support the aspiring students. The Foreign Affairs Minister said visa problems are not faced by students on scholarships and very few self-funded students have such problems with the visa.
The Foreign Minister said, “The main reason for facing difficulties in availing visa is due to non-fulfillment of documents.”
Lyonpo said the government, through the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi, continues to support the students with the Australian visa, but at the same time, the responsibilities falls on aspiring students to fulfill all the criteria required to get the visa.
“It took almost three months for my visa to get confirmed, but only to get rejected at the end,” said a student, Pema, in a disheartened way. He said there are many students who aspire to gain quality education in Australia, and the government must help with their plight.
Lyonpo said about 219 students were sent out under the support of AusAid and 184 students through the Endeavour Awards. In the span of the last five years, Australian government has supported Bhutanese students, around 513 students, in various fields.
He added, “We are aware that Australia, be it in terms of studies, the benefit is just enormous which is why it is taken with great enthusiasm.”
Be it former and present government, this is seen as a great project, Lyonpo said, therefore, from the government side, the private students will be shown the same support from Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the government.
Lyonpo said the problem is not from the Australian government but from the private students not completing the document requirement. He said they are working on ways to help them.