Foreign university students will be able to stay in Spain for a year automatically upon finishing their degree

A few weeks before it reaches the Council of Ministers in second reading, the Organic Law of the University System (LOSU) continues to undergo relevant changes. This Monday, in an act on the norm organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, Minister Joan Subirats announced that, if it is approved, non-EU foreign students will not be forced to renew their residence permit annually and those recently Graduates will be able to stay one more year without having to request an extension of their stay in the country. Subirats has spoken of two years, but sources from the Ministry of Universities affirm that the number of months is still being negotiated with the Interior and is expected to be less.

Students of foreign nationality represented 9.4% of the total number of those enrolled in Spanish universities last year, according to data from the ministry: they were 27.5% in doctorates, 21.3% in masters and 6% in grade. European and African students come above all to study for a degree, while Americans, Asians and Oceanians come more often to do a master’s degree or doctorate. Some growing figures, but light years away from other countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States.

“In the LOSU it is planned that the residence permit to study in Spain does not have to be requested every year, as is the case now, but can be extended for the duration of the studies”, explained the minister. “And that for two years, later, that talent that we have helped to train, we can find a way to retain it. That he can maintain residence in the country and look for work.”

This measure, which facilitates the procedures for foreigners -fundamentally South Americans, but also Asians and Africans- is part of a Government strategy to improve the internationalization of Spanish universities, which are going to lose 20% of their students in a decade. from the age range of 18 to 29 years. This forces universities to look for older university students ―only 6% are over 30 years old― or from other countries where the demographic perspective is the opposite and the number of graduates will grow exponentially. Subirats considers that European universities “are no longer international politics”, they must be viewed from an internal policy point of view ―there are campus consortiums in which there are 24 Spanish, a card is prepared with a chip that allows the mobility of students and a degree European – and take into account other continents.

“Already 600 million people speak Spanish in the world and the perspective is that in 2050 the United States will be the country with the most Spanish speakers. We are really talking about a change in the language as a central element and we have to see the possibilities we have as a University”, Subirats optimistically recalled. Although he is aware that “the difficulties also arise” due to the “enormous heterogeneity” in the quality of South American campuses that does not exist in Europe, where the differences between centers are smaller. There are already collaboration networks between universities across the continent and with Spain, but they have only been established between reference institutions. “It is not always clear with whom you are collaborating, what levels of quality are required…”, reflects the minister.

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