France has announced that it is giving priority to international students that would like to enter the country starting July 1st. This means students applying for visas may be fast-tracked through the process.
The French government is no doubt pursuing international students in a quest to reach its goal of hosting 500,000 foreign students by the year 2027. This is all captured in their Bienvenue en France strategy.
The French government has backed this strategy with a €10 million investment towards improving international student services. They hope to improve the attractiveness of France's higher education institutions to foreign students looking to study internationally.
The investment will partially provide financial incentives to Universities that implement robust student support services for international students, further listing those universities on the main portal for international applicants, “Etudes en France.”
According to Campus France, the country is currently hosting about 358,000 students. France released its international recruitment strategy last year. They also announced an increase in fees, which would likely offset the cost of service improvements that make it easier for international students (Francophone and Anglophone) to integrate into French academic institutions. So the net gain would be their institution's competitiveness and reputation.
This should explain their interest in removing restrictions for international students who spend money to attend institutions of higher learning and add to the economy, as well.
France is not the only country in Europe easing visa restrictions and opening up visa services. Denmark, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden have all resumed visa services in at least some popular international student locations such as Nigeria and China.
France is the fourth most popular country for international students and the top non-English speaking country. Most international students in France do come from Africa with Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, and China.