Germany is one of the top destinations for international students as it offers quality education for free (for the most part).
However, the process of getting a visa appointment from the German embassy in Islamabad is quite cumbersome.
Sindh and Balochistan residents are a bit lucky here as they book their appointments from the German Consulate General Karachi. The Karachi office usually has a lot of appointments open as relatively few people apply from Sindh and Balochistan to Germany.
The residents of Punjab, however, go through a lot of sleepless nights to get an appointment at the German Embassy. The portal opens at around 3.00am for a few seconds only.
The applicants themselves are at fault here too. Many students applying for the appointment don’t even have an offer letter from any German university yet. During all this, the deserving students who already have offers from universities fail to get an appointment.
In desperation, many go for the consultants who charge hefty fees for appointments. Many such “consultants” are a scam as they take up an extravagant amount of cash but guarantee no bookings. The so-called consultants also book fake appointments and take up the free slots so they can attract more desperate students.
The German Ambassador to Pakistan highlighted this pathetic and irresponsible behavior by consultants, saying;
Urgent!! really angry about these so called visa consultants! https://t.co/b9ZFt8lX8f[email protected] blocked 70!! appointments with fake name Arif Khan and fake passport numbers! this is irresponsible behaviour! avoid any consultants and book directly!! please retweet!
— Alfred Grannas (@GermanyinPAK) June 1, 2018
Apparently, there is nothing that German or Pakistani authorities can do about such scammers.
What Can Be Done?
There are a few things that German authorities can do to make visa processing more lenient for deserving people. Firstly, the appointments for work visa and study visa are booked through the same portal. The embassy can separate the appointment booking portal for the work visa and student visa.
Students apply in huge numbers as compared to the work visa applicants. In the process, people having job offers fail to get an appointment as students take up all the appointments.
Secondly, the Embassy can introduce an advance visa fee so the scammers stay away from the application portal. Currently, the appointments are free-of-charge. An advance fee will make sure that only applicants with complete documents including the acceptance letter will apply. In case the application gets rejected, the embassy can refund the fee as well.
Lastly and most importantly, people need to have a sense of responsibility as well. It doesn’t take the most pious person in the world to realize what you are entitled to. Meaning that, apply only if you have all the relevant documents complete. Wait for the university to give an answer to your application. Apply after getting the acceptance from the university. Advance bookings won’t do anyone any good if you get rejected.