Estonian universities and higher education establishments say that the biggest bottleneck for students from outside the European Union who wish to study in Estonia is bureaucracy, writes ERR.
By current law, a non-EU student must apply for the residence permit for Estonia when still abroad and must submit the documents to the nearest Estonian embassy. The embassy then forwards the documents to Estonia where the permit is issued if all papers are correct. However, if the documents are not in order, the student would have to return to the embassy and re-submit them.
Kätin Keinast who coordinates international degree study in the Tallinn Technical University, says that this is a major problem for many Asian students since it means that would have to travel to the Estonian Embassy in China. "We have many problems especially with Asian students," said Keinast.
However, the situation could improve after the new Alien Act enters into force this October. Under its provisions, a residence permit can be applied also when the person is already in Estonia, i.e. foreign students can first travel to Estonia and only then apply for a residence permit.