Student/visit visa applicants need to show strong financial capacity 

  • Migration agents note students having to pay/show double the previous amount for covering tuition, living expenses  
  • Visa issuance takes up time; one-and-a-half months for student visa  
  • Students complain of universities deferring applications, difficulty paying fees 

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Sri Lankan students and those travelling overseas on visit visas who have evidence of possessing strong financial capacity, have no issue with migrating, according to registered migration agents. 

Speaking to The Morning, Attorney-at-Law (AAL) Sahan Mawanane Hewa, who is a registered migration agent for Australia, stated that a prospective student must have financial evidence showing that they or a sponsor have sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses during the period of intended study. 

“A major requirement for a student visa is to prove that you have sufficient funds to pay your fees and cover your living costs. The national currency, the Sri Lankan rupee, has plunged in value against the US dollar, and access to foreign currency is very limited.” 

According to Mawanane Hewa, financial depression is the biggest issue at the moment and that students have to show or pay double the amount compared to what they paid before. 

“Most of the universities are aware of the situation in Sri Lanka and they don’t want to take a risk by accepting applications; however, students who have a strong financial background have no issue with applying for a student visa,” he said. 

He further added that overall, the migration of elders above the age of 60 years and those applying for work visas have no issue at the moment, but that visit visa applications without strong financial backgrounds could be an issue. 

He also noted that visa issuance takes a long time due to Covid-19, saying: “It takes around one-and-a-half months to issue a student visa at the moment, whereas before, it took only one week.” 

According to a recent report by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, there are over 50,000 Sri Lankan students undergoing their studies in Australian universities and colleges.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan students claimed that the universities are deferring their applications due to the current situation in the country until the next intake.

Sri Lankan students are struggling to pay fees for their continuing studies abroad due to rising costs at home and with foreign currency controls in place. These include those based in Canada, who must decide whether to remain in Canada amid the worsening crisis back home, or opt to return to their country if they cannot afford to fund their studies and other necessities abroad.

According to reports, some of the 10,000 international students from Sri Lanka in Canada are affected by the Sri Lankan economic crisis.

Canada is home to some 200,000 individuals of Sri Lankan descent, and hosts one of the largest international student populations in the world.