European Golden Visa for Indian Students: what is it and who can apply


Golden Visa programs allow international students to study and work in the country they are applying to

Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Cyprus and Portugal are among the top destinations for Indian students

The Golden Visa program has become popular among international students as it gives them the opportunity to study abroad and to live and work in many European countries.

Ashish Saraff, CEO and Founder of Aretha Capital Partners, a UK-based real estate investment firm that is qualified to obtain gold visas for Portugal, Greece and Cyprus, gave Edugraph a glimpse of the buzzing scene of higher education in Europe.

Edugraph: Why are students moving away from traditional destinations to study abroad?

Ashish Saraff: The UK and USA have been the top priorities for most Indian students as they have offered the opportunity to work after graduation. But the scenario has changed over the years due to the gradual reduction in work permits in these two countries. Although the UK recently launched the Post-Study Work Visa, the real challenge begins when you start looking for an employer who would sponsor your stay in this country.

Has there been a significant increase in the number of new Indian students at European universities?

LIKE: The European education sector has grown in leaps and bounds over the past five years. As an English speaking country, Ireland leads the pack. The number of Indian students opting for Irish universities, especially Trinity College Dublin, is truly astonishing. Cyprus and Portugal are very successful in attracting international students. Switzerland, France and Germany also rank quite high on the preference list for international students.

Is the language issue a big obstacle for Indian students wanting to apply to European countries where English is not the primary mode of communication?

LIKE: Of course, this has been one of the main concerns of Indian students. However, most European countries are now offering or developing English courses to attract students from Asia and the Middle East.

Which European countries are preferred by Indian students?

LIKE: Students have been flocking to Ireland, especially Dublin, for the past few years. Portugal is also a favored destination due to its cosmopolitan mix of people. Many Asian students are now opting for private universities in Cyprus. These three countries are currently at the top of the preference list.

Can you list some of the top courses / tracks in overseas education for Indian students?

LIKE: The popularity of courses / tracks in a country is determined by the type of businesses operating there. Tech giants Amazon and Google have established foundations in post-Brexit Ireland and that is why Indian students are opting for bachelor’s, master’s and computer engineering courses at Irish universities. Those who go to Cyprus prefer accounting and business management courses as the top four accounting firms operate in this country.

Portugal is preferred for a variety of courses, including those with career prospects in the tech industry and the offshore and onshore renewable energy sectors. Switzerland is a popular destination for students seeking careers in the food and beverage industry and banking.

What would be the application process for European universities?

LIKE: Typically, most universities start accepting applications about eight to nine months in advance. Some universities hold entrance exams for international students, while others may have a standard threshold based on a student’s current and expected grades. There is always an application timeline. For example, this year’s application window will close at December.

It is important to note that international students will have to pay the full admission fee, which is sometimes a deterrent. On the positive side, it is not difficult to get a student visa once you are accepted into the university.

International students are often not allowed to work part time and this is where the Golden Visa comes in handy. The Golden Visa can be used by buying a property or investing in a fund. If you are already a European citizen, you can work at the same time as your course or even after your course.

– Ashish Saraff

What types of investments are needed to study in Europe?

LIKE: For Indian students, Western Europe is more expensive than the Mediterranean region in terms of tuition fees and cost of living. If you are coming to Western Europe, you will need 40,000 to 45,000 euros per year, including tuition and living costs. Trinity College Dublin charges around 5,000 to 6,000 euros per year to a local or European student, while an international student has to pay around 25,000 to 35,000 euros.

In the Mediterranean region, it is closer to 25,000 euros per year, of which around 15,000 are for school fees, 5,000 for accommodation and 5,000 for food and the art of living.

Do European universities offer scholarships that can help Indian students?

LIKE: It is extremely difficult to get a merit scholarship at a top European university because you are competing with just about everyone in the world! Some mid-level universities offer scholarships in the form of a discount on tuition fees, but it depends on the university, country and course. You will find such scholarships in fields such as applied sciences, biotechnology, and advanced robotics.

Why have Golden Visa programs become so popular?

LIKE: Education is one of the main reasons for the growing popularity of Golden Visa programs. The Portugal Golden Visa program, for example, leads to citizenship in just five years. Once you are a European citizen your children can go to any school or university just like any other European child. It paved the way for a new way of life for many people.

How would Golden Visa programs benefit students compared to applying directly to universities?

LIKE: Take Portugal as an example. The Portugal Golden Visa requires the investment of a minimum of 350,000 euros, which equates to approximately Rs 3 crore. This investment must be held for five years from the date of granting of your residence permits. You only have to live in the country for seven days a year and can apply for citizenship after five years.

It becomes a very good proposition for people who have young teenagers at home. These children would do their higher education abroad as EU citizens. Their parents don’t have to pay high fees for international students. Most importantly, they would be free to live and work anywhere in the European Union as European citizens.

How does Aretha help students who want to study abroad?

LIKE: Aretha Capital Partners is a property management and investment company. We also operate a real estate platform called and are qualified to obtain gold visas for Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.

The Golden Visa can be used by buying a property or investing in a fund. We are probably the only firm to offer an integrated platform for such processes. We support investors throughout the immigration process.

What are the prospects for part-time jobs and internships for Indian students in Europe?

LIKE: Some courses allow students to work up to 20 hours per week. But international students are often not allowed to work part time and this is where the Golden Visa comes in handy. If you are already a European citizen, you can work at the same time as your course or even after your course. This makes room for a few extra dollars that could cover your living expenses.

Last updated on 05 Nov 2021

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