Barcelona, Mar 9 (EFE).- The new Organic Law of the University System (LOSU), approved today in Congress, will contribute to the internationalization of universities, with more facilities in visas for foreign students, the maintenance of degrees of three years and the obligatory nature of internationalization plans in higher education centers.
This has been highlighted by the director general of the Barcelona Global entity, Mercè Conesa, who has been part of a working group to position Barcelona as a “hub” for higher education and which includes experts such as former councilor Andreu Mas-Colell ( BIST), Teresa García-Milà (BSE), Joan Roca and Joaquim Via (Roca Junyent), and Marcel Prunera (Crea Inversión).
Conesa and the project director of Barcelona Global, Cristina H. Valiñani, agreed this Thursday that LOSU will help “remove barriers” to position cities like Barcelona as a destination for international students, as other European cities like Amsterdam have done. .
More facilities with visas
As proposed by Barcelona Global, the new law allows non-EU students to adjust the duration of their visas to the degree or master’s degree they are studying and even facilitate the extension of said visas after the degree to seek and carry out internships or work for a period minimum of two years, as occurs in other countries of the European Union, with the “objective of retaining the talent trained in the Spanish university”.
Likewise, the LOSU “simplifies, digitizes and streamlines” the process of obtaining the visa, with information and forms in English through a web page.
The new law also circumvents the royal decree of 2021 and reverts the mandatory abolition of three-year degrees -they had to go to four-, the majority duration on European campuses, which should allow, according to Conesa, “to compete in attracting international students and prevent the flight of local students”.
In this sense, Barcelona Global reminds us that at stake is being able to capture part of the increase in students who change countries to obtain a university degree -the 5.1 million in 2016 will become 10.2 million in 2030- which could help mitigate a decline in demography in Spain that will jeopardize the survival of many degrees.
While the United Kingdom attracts around 450,000 university students each year and France around 260,000, more than 18% and 10% of its total students, respectively, Spain receives around 70,000, representing 4%.
In this context, the Government wants Spanish universities to prepare and thus includes a title in the law dedicated to the internationalization of universities, which, among other issues, establishes the obligation of internationalization plans by the autonomous communities, the own state and universities.