Germany’s blue card scheme giving green signal to Indians students
Posted on October 14, 2015
Dr Joybrato Mukherjee, vice president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) who was a part of the delegation that accompanied German chancellor Angela Merkel to India last week, is very upbeat about the growing number of Indian students going for higher education in Germany. In 2014-15, there was a record 23 per cent growth in the number of Indians studying in Germany with 11,860 enrolled in universities there.
DAAD is a joint organisation of German institutions of higher education and student bodies.
Dr Mukherjee, 42, who became the youngest elected president of a German university, said Indian students are showing greater acceptance of the German system of education, which is very different from the American one. “The German system of higher education has a lot of advantages that Indian students are opening up to, and puts equal emphasis on social sciences and technology,” Dr Mukherjee said. Besides, most of Germany’s higher education institutions are publicly funded with all students, including international ones, paying very small or no fees.
He said top quality courses available in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) streams in Germany, many of which are now offered in English, are also attracting Indian students in a big way along with job opportunities after education.
“The EU blue card scheme, which is a residence permit with the right to work, for non-EU nationals who have an academic or equivalent qualification and a defined level of minimum salary (an annual gross salary of at least 47,600 or 37,128 in shortage occupations) is attracting many young Indians in areas such as mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, IT-technologies and medical science,” Dr Mukherjee said.
And it’s not just the blue card – international students in Germany can remain in the country for one-and-ahalf years after they finish their courses to look for jobs. “This is very flexible and during this period, students are free to take up any kind of employment connected to their education with no restrictions on salary level, contracts etc.,” said Vikas Shabadi from Bengaluru who is in Germany for an integrated master+ Ph.D. programme at the Technische Universität Darmstadt.
However, language and cultural differences are some issues that Indian students have to deal with before they can start working in Germany. “Unlike some English-speaking countries, starting to work here may not be plug and play for most Indian professionals,” he said. “In Germany, the process of getting a permanent residence status is also very simple and at the end of 21 months those with work visas can apply for the status. After that, we are free to set up our own businesses if we want to, besides taking up all kinds of employment,” Shabadi said.
The blue card also allows spouses of the holders to take up employment in Germany. His wife, Nandita Sharma, too, works in Germany having gone there for higher education.
Madhuri Sathyanarayana Rao, who is doing her master’s degree in molecular life sciences at the University of Jena, said that the jobseeker visa is also a boon for Indian students to stay back and look for jobs in Germany. “While in Germany, the only major barrier to obtain a job is language. Most international firms, however, do have English as the main language for business. In fields like mine such as biology/biotechnology, strong skills in German are a key requirement to enter any company/industry,” said Rao.
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