Canada Visa For Afghan Students

December 27, 2021BY Test User

Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries are opening up to students fleeing the conflict-torn country after the Taliban take-over, amid fears that disruption and uncertainty could make it difficult for them to continue higher education in Afghanistan.

Neighbours including Pakistan, India and some Central Asian countries had been called upon to extend visas, scholarships and university facilities to Afghan students – particularly women students – even before the Taliban entered the Afghan capital Kabul on 15 August, as many students were forced to flee universities in provinces that fell to the Taliban advance.

Afghan students whose education has been interrupted by Taliban takeover & who are now refugees in Pakistan can apply to World University Service of Canada (WUSC-EUMC) Student Refugee Program until Jan 3rd. Complete the form to apply:

The provincial government of Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which borders Afghanistan, announced that Afghan students would be provided with a dedicated sub-campus of the University of Engineering and Technology (UET).

There are already 132 Afghan students enrolled in various engineering disciplines, according to a 12 August announcement by Kamran Bangash, special assistant to the provincial chief minister of higher education and information, while addressing a ceremony to welcome a new cohort of 175 Afghan students who qualified for scholarships.

University of Engineering and Technology steps up

Iftikhar Hussain, vice-chancellor of UET, which is based in the provincial capital Peshawar, told University World News: “The announcement for setting up a dedicated campus of our university for Afghan students has been made keeping in view expanding higher education relations with neighbouring Afghanistan and to facilitate non-funded students to get higher education in Pakistan at affordable cost.”

He added: “The interest of Afghan students to study in Pakistan is evident from the fact that 25,000 Afghan students participated in the test conducted this year for the award of scholarships.”

Under Pakistan’s Afghanistan-dedicated Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarships Programme, the first phase of which was started in 2007, Afghan students awarded the scholarship can join any university in Pakistan if they pass the admission criteria. The majority of Afghan students opt for universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa because of the similarity in culture and ease of travel to Afghanistan from the border province.

Kamran Bangash said at the ceremony that besides scholarships, academic facilitation would be provided to other Afghan students wishing to acquire university qualifications from Pakistan. He told the audience: “This is being done under special directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

Support from Pakistan

The Pakistan government has, so far, not made any announcement about the future of higher education relations with Afghanistan after the 15 August takeover of Kabul by the Taliban. However, it is expected that the decision to facilitate Afghan university students will not be withdrawn.

UET’s Hussain said: “Our facilitation to Afghan students wishing to study in Pakistan aims at strengthening people-to-people relations and promoting bilateral cooperation in higher education and thus it should not be affected by change in the political regime in Afghanistan.”

Jehanzeb Khan, project director of Afghan scholarships at Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission, told University World News: “We hope the scholarship programme shall not be disturbed due to the change of government in Afghanistan. It is between the two countries and should not be affected by any domestic political change.”

Pakistan hosts a large number of higher education students from Afghanistan who are mostly on scholarships provided by Pakistan’s government.

Pakistan initially provided scholarships and a special university quota for three million Afghan refugees who crossed into Pakistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and after the United States operation to dislodge the Taliban from power in 2001.

Later, in 2007, the first phase of the Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarship Programme – named after a 20th century Pakistani national poet – was introduced by Pakistan’s federal government to promote bilateral relations and as part of its civilian assistance for reconstruction in Afghanistan.

The second phase of this scholarship programme for Afghan students was implemented in 2020. It had been announced just days after former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani visited Islamabad in June 2019. The second phase offered another 3,000 scholarships to Afghan students over a period of four years, in engineering and medical education fields.

According to Pakistan’s foreign office, more than 4,000 fully funded higher education students from Afghanistan and another 50,000 Afghans have already graduated from Pakistani universities and returned to their country.

Support from Kyrgyzstan

In neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, the authorities announced that they would accept 500 students from Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan has a number of universities including the American University of Central Asia in the capital Bishkek and the University of Central Asia.

Founded in 2000 by the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, the University of Central Asia has campuses in each of the countries. It currently provides some 40 scholarships for Afghan students.

A 16 August statement by the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security noted: “The Afghan people have suffered severe trials.” It added: “Of particular concern is the fate of Afghan youth, especially female youth, which like Kyrgyz youth strive to acquire modern knowledge, master new technologies and acquire professions that are in demand.

“It is impossible to get a quality education in conditions of armed political confrontation.” Therefore, the state committee considered it a duty to provide all possible support to talented students.

“We are ready to continue issuing visas to Afghan citizens who previously studied at local educational institutions as well as to accept 500 students who would like to study at universities in Kyrgyzstan,” the state committee said.

Other countries in Central Asia – including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan – have not announced plans. But Uzbekistan has been preparing since June for an influx of refugees from Afghanistan. Many former Afghan government soldiers fled to the republics as the Taliban advanced through Afghanistan, taking provincial capital after provincial capital.

According to reports, three planes and two helicopters from Afghanistan landed in Tajikistan’s southern town of Bokhtar on 16 August carrying 143 Afghan soldiers. Some of them were reportedly being housed in a local university.

Indian universities try to help

Afghan students in India, worried about the situation in their country, have sought visa relaxations from the Indian government. Many Afghan students across India have approached their institutions to extend the duration of their visas in India or allow them to return to campus – many have been studying online from Afghanistan due to the pandemic in India.

More than 2,000 Afghan students studying in India on scholarships face an uncertain future in view of the prevailing situation in Kabul.

After a request from enrolled Afghan students, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay announced a decision to allow Afghan students to return to the Mumbai campus and continue with their studies in India.

In a Facebook post, IIT Bombay Director Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri said: “We offered admission to quite a few students from Afghanistan in the masters programme this year under scholarships from ICCR.” The ICCR or Indian Council for Cultural Relations deals with foreign students.

“Because of online instructions, they were participating in class from home. However, due to rapidly deteriorating conditions in their homeland, they wanted to come out of their country and join the hostels on the campus.

“Although we have approved their request to come to the campus as a special case, we are not sure how late it is for them to pursue their dreams. We hope that they are all safe and can join us soon.”

Chaudhuri said the Afghan students, like IIT alumni, would play critical leadership roles in developing their country once the current nightmare ends. It was crucial for students and their families to be safe. “These students would become the greatest ambassadors of our country,” he added.

Like IIT Bombay, many other top institutions in India have said they stand in solidarity with Afghan students and would extend every possible help to them. IIT Delhi has launched a helpline for Afghan students and has encouraged them to apply for the institute’s International PhD Fellowship Programme.

Mohammed Ahmedi, an Afghani student in Mumbai, told University World News: “We want the government to help the students studying here and let them stay even after their studies are over. If these people go to Afghanistan, their lives will be in danger.” He also said the government should help students so that they do not face financial problems.

Another student from Afghanistan, Ahmed Durani, said: “I don’t know what will happen next. Our family is stuck in Kabul. We want the Indian government to help the students so that Afghan children can continue their studies.”

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, in a 14 August press release, said: “Some Afghan students of JNU have requested the JNU administration to facilitate their return to the campus.” The university remained closed, as per the latest circular issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority. The matter was being looked into, the university said.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) wrote to the university administration and the education ministry, asking for help for Afghan students who have been admitted to the university so that they can travel to India.

JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh said: “There must be around 20 Afghan students studying in JNU and we want the government to extend all possible help to them. Some of them wanted extension of visas so that they can live here for some more time.

“We also want the government to help those students who have taken admission and got stuck in Afghanistan. The government should make arrangements for everything for them,” she told University World News.

In a letter on 13 August the union said: “Female students who are Afghan nationals will have to leave their education entirely if they are not provided the requisite documentation in time.”

A senior official of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), a nodal agency for international students, told the Hindustan Times that the agency would take care of Afghan students who are currently in India on ICCR scholarships.

Dinesh Patnaik, director general of the Delhi-based ICCR, said the students would get their stipends on time and could stay in the hostels of their universities.

Some Afghan students in India said they would do everything possible to stay there given the deteriorating security situation in their home country.

But they did not know how things would turn out, as the visas of many of them were coming to an end and some of the students are also facing financial hardships. The Indian government is yet to issue a statement regarding students or visas

Afghan students whose education has been interrupted by Taliban takeover & who are now refugees in Pakistan can apply to World University Service of Canada (WUSC-EUMC) Student Refugee Program until Jan 3rd. Complete the form to apply: