Opposition’s motion on foreign students defeated in parliament

Slovenija, Ljubljana, 10.02.2021, 10. februar 2021 DZ RS,  vložen predlog, konstruktivna nezaupnica vladi, predsednik DeSUS Karel Erjavec, kandidat za predsednika vlade, parlament, poslanci, opozicija, koalicija, preštevanje, glasovi, politične igre, politika, KUL Foto: Žiga Živulovič jr./BOBO

Ljubljana – The opposition-sponsored legislation that sought to revoke the requirement that foreign students must provide upfront proof of sufficient funding for their entire stay in Slovenia has been defeated at the National Assembly. The MPs only took note on Tuesday that the motion had been rejected by at the committee level.

The motion was tabled in late July by a group of 40 MPs led by the Left, and signed by other centre-left opposition deputy groups and the MP for the Italian minority.

They argued at the time that the amendments to the foreigners act from May “prevent students already in Slovenia from continuing their studies, and prevent new students from enrolling in university.”

The move came in the aftermath of media reports showing that foreign students were having trouble proving their financial situation, even as the Interior Ministry claimed nothing had changed except the type of evidence they must present.

The applicants said the legislation had unduly tightened conditions for studying in Slovenia by requiring students prove they have at least EUR 5,000 on their bank account, an amount he said was impossible for many to secure.

Previous legislation merely required that students present a statement from their parents to the effect that they will finance their children for the duration of their stay in Slovenia.

The applicants argued that this requirement should be preserved in the relevant law, but the proposal had been voted down at the relevant committee last week, with eight votes in favour of the motion and ten against.

At the committee debate, Interior Ministry State Secretary Božo Predalič argued that “no one will need to have EUR 5,000 on their account in order to study, but they will have to prove for one month in advance that they have enough funds for residence.

“They need to prove that they have monthly income of at least EUR 402, from any source,” he said, adding that parents or legal guardians needed to prove that they actually had some assets and income. This is to prevent abuse.

The deputy groups thus only took note today of the decision and presented their positions on the motion.

The coalition parties as well as the National Party (SNS) and Pensioners’ Party (DeSUS) argued that proving sufficient funds for financing of studies is appropriately regulated for third-country nationals.

On the other hand, the four centre-left opposition parties and the unaffiliated MPs warned against the consequences that such regulation brings for students who already study in Slovenia.