Students had previously struggled to obtain visas due to centres in Turkey being closed.

“The process is going to be a bit different to what it was,” explained the European School of English’s Fatih Erdogan during a recent YEDAB webinar with Turkish agents.

“The documents and passports have to be sent to the respective language schools”

“The documents and passports have to be sent to the respective language schools, [who] have to process these with Central Visa Unit in Malta, and send back the passport to the agents or the students,” he continued. “So it is a start. It’s positive.”

The European School of English resumed lessons on July 6 and Erdogan said that numbers were about 10-15% lower than previous years.

“Turkey will be our test run to see how [this way of processing] goes. If everything goes well, I will be pushing as FELTOM to open it up further,” FELTOM CEO James Perry told The PIE News.

“There are quite a lot of incidents of students struggling. And we are hoping that this system will give the possibility for students to travel and come to Malta.”

Elsewhere, ELT schools have also – visas permitting – been welcoming back students.

Bayswater College in the UK recently reopened the doors of two of its centres for 30 students. Schools have said that incoming students are mostly from Europe but they have begun to see bookings from Turkey, Latin America and Asia.

Turkey is additionally a priority for Irish ELT providers despite the government asking schools not to recruit international students.

“Turkey is first and foremost on the agenda for us to get the visa situation opened up,” said Centre for English Studies managing director and EAQUALS chairman, Justin Quinn.

However, he noted that Ireland’s visa processing for Turkish students may not open up again until November or December this year.

In 2019, education agents told The PIE that they are increasingly assisting students to find schools in Ireland and Malta as English language study destinations, as difficulties due to Brexit and visa issues continue to hinder the process of sending students to the UK.

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