Published:  08:04 AM, 27 August 2021

Korean universities' Bangladeshi students stuck in uncertainty

 Korean universities' Bangladeshi students stuck in uncertainty

Every year many students from Bangladesh choose Korea as higher education destination due to the country's international reputation for providing high-quality education and immense research opportunities. Likewise, roughly more than 400 students have applied to various Korean universities this year and were admitted to bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs for the fall 2021 semester. In addition, many of them are prestigious scholarship holders. However, the Korean government has suspended the issuance of student visas (D2 visas) to Bangladeshi nationals effective April 16, citing an increase in Covid 19 infections. Given the circumstance, admitted students pledged to adhere to all conditions imposed by the Korean and Bangladeshi governments, including a seven-day quarantine in Bangladesh, supervised by the government-run BOESL (Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited), and a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Korea in order to obtain visas and commence academic life. Unfortunately, the Korean government has yet to respond to Bangladeshi students' pleas. As a result, the students are tremendously frustrated, and their futures are hanging on uncertainty. To make matters worse, holders of professor-funded scholarships are at great risk of losing their scholarship status if they cannot enter Korea within a specified timeframe. According to the Korean government, 44 Bangladeshi students went to South Korea between May and June, and several of them were infected with COVID 19, which prompted the Korean government to suspend the issuance of student visas to Bangladeshi nationals. According to the Korean Embassy in Dhaka, visa issuance will not resume until the rate of COVID 19 infections among arriving students reaches zero, even though the Korean government has continued student visa operations in neighboring India, Nepal, and several other Corona-affected countries. As a result, admitted students are perplexed by the Korean government's policy. Additionally, self-funded students have already paid tuition to the concerned universities and are unsure whether to cancel admissions or enroll in online classes; in this case, there is no possibility of receiving a refund if the Embassy denies the visa application. Although Bangladesh's COVID 19 situation has deteriorated, students are getting vaccinated and keen to obtain visas and meet all entry requirements to enter Korea. However, Tanvir Siddique Nilay, a newly admitted student to Kyungdong University for the September 2021 session, told us that he is filled with apprehension and anxiety about his academic future. Without the necessary steps, these students' futures will be uncertain. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh, should take this matter seriously and take feasible measures to expedite the resumption of student visa operations. Nevertheless, many students remain optimistic that the BOESL's, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Korean Embassy's initiatives will result in the immediate resumption of student visa issuance.

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