200K foreign workers as US ‘students,’ Canada to reinstate 20-hour work week cap, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

200K foreign workers as US ‘students,’ Canada to reinstate 20-hour work week cap, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

Note From the Editor


A State Department report reveals nearly 200,000 international “students” in the US are actually working under Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, bypassing Social Security and Medicare taxes and therefore becoming cheaper to hire than Americans. 


Canada is set to reinstate the 20-hour work week limitation for international students, while the UK is bent on pursuing tougher visa rules for foreign workers and the consequent clampdown on bringing families, supposedly “to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education.” Elsewhere in the world, India and European nations are making significant bids to attract more international students on undergraduate and graduate levels. 


Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week, or stay up-to-date on intl ed news in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom


Nearly 200,000 foreign workers classified as ‘students’: State Department

A State Department report reveals nearly 200,000 international “students” in the US are actually working under Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, bypassing Social Security and Medicare taxes and therefore becoming cheaper to hire than Americans. This number, part of over 1 million international students in the 2022-23 academic year, includes graduates working in the US for extended periods post-graduation. The increase in OPT participants, doubling since 2012-13, raises questions about the program’s impact on tax revenue and employment dynamics, and has since been dubbed by some segments as “a disguised — and subsidized — foreign worker program.” The report highlights a significant presence of students from China and India, with a notable rise in STEM-related fields.

The College Fix

Canadian government to reinstate 20-hour work week for international students

The Canadian government’s decision to revert to a 20-hour work week limitation for international students has sparked widespread concern among its international student community. This measure, reversing a temporary lift of the cap initiated on Nov. 15, 2022, is set to affect over 500,000 students from Dec. 31 this year. The temporary removal of the work week cap was a response to labor shortages in Canada, allowing students to work longer hours and achieve greater financial stability. Students and advocates have expressed distress over the policy’s conclusion, with some students from the University of Saskatchewan sharing how extended work hours helped them financially.

MSM Reporter

UK tables tougher visa rules for foreign workers, clampdown on bringing families

The UK government is pushing through with stringent new visa regulations aimed at reducing the country’s immigration figures. These measures include a significant increase in the minimum salary threshold for foreign workers seeking skilled visas, which has been raised from the current £26,200 to £38,700 (US$33,000 to US$48,746). This policy shift also affects UK citizens, who now need to earn at least £38,700 (US$48,746) to sponsor foreign family members wishing to live in the UK. UK Home Secretary James Cleverly revealed that under the crackdown, medics on Health and Care visas will no longer be able to bring any family members with them. Cleverly also asked for a review of the Graduate Route visa “to prevent abuse and protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education,” indicating that a similar crackdown on dependents on that post-study route may also be underway.

The Week

Man pleads guilty to defrauding 18 international students

In a significant case at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, Raul Ramirez Rodriquez, a 36-year-old former entrepreneur now living in Dublin, has admitted to defrauding 18 international students. Rodriquez, originally from Mexico, scammed the students by collecting nearly €30,000 (US$32,331) in fees for an English course, which he diverted to support his failing restaurant. The business, alongside his restaurant, collapsed during the pandemic. Rodriquez, who owned the Travel Now Agency assisting foreign students in Ireland, confessed to using the money to try to save his restaurant, which ultimately closed in 2020. The students, left without their course and money, expressed significant emotional and financial distress in their impact statements. Rodriquez is scheduled for sentencing on December 11.

The Irish Examiner

Finland: High demand for work, studies & family reunification visa applications while asylum requests drop

Finland has seen a significant increase in applications for work, study, and family reunification visas, particularly from healthcare and social services professionals as well as students from Asian countries. Despite a decrease in work visa applications compared to last year, the demand remains high, especially in large cities. The Finnish Immigration Service reports record-high applications for student visas and anticipates a record number of citizenship applications this year. In contrast, asylum applications have dropped, diverging from the broader European Union trend of rising asylum requests.

Schengen Visa Info

Australia: International student numbers surge despite strict visa measures

Australian universities have experienced a 31% surge in international student applications for 2024, despite stricter visa policies causing higher refusal rates, particularly from India and Pakistan. China leads as the top contributor, with universities noting continued interest but at a reduced pace. This influx, however, faces challenges due to declining visa approvals, affecting student enrollment projections and posing significant challenges for institutions, especially private colleges heavily reliant on international students. Data suggests a potential increase to 940,000 international students in Australia by 2035, despite a recent decrease in higher education enrollments.


Chris Luxon: International student dip “incredibly frustrating”

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Luxon, in a recent statement, has expressed deep concern over the decline in international student enrollment in the country, characterizing it as “incredibly frustrating.” The Prime Minister pointed out that this decline has had a broader impact on international relationships, indicating a weakening of ties with other nations. While neighboring Australia has seen a resurgence in international student numbers, New Zealand’s figures appear to have not followed suit. According to Luxon, the country has become increasingly insular, myopic, and somewhat pessimistic over the past six years, resulting in a diminished global presence.


20 states seeking to expel foreign students amid rising concerns of ‘terrorist activity’

A coalition of 20 state attorneys general are pushing for stringent vetting of foreign student visa holders amid concerns around them having “endorsed or espoused terrorist activity or provided material support to foreign terrorist organizations.” The move appears to hit international students attending anti-Israel demonstrations at US universities, with pronouncements such as: “The last thing we want is for Hamas and Hamas sympathizers to be using the US in order to plan future attacks.” The effort, led by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and supported by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird, calls for the removal of those foreign students from American soil. In 2022, over 400,000 student visas were issued, injecting $38 million into the US economy. The coalition says that while free speech applies to all students in the country, including foreign visa holders, “supporting terrorism does not.“


More international students are seeking asylum in Canada, numbers reveal

The number of international students seeking asylum in Canada has more than doubled in the last five years, government data has revealed. The number of refugee claims made by study permit holders has climbed around 2.7 times to 4,880 cases in 2022 from 1,835 in 2018, as the international student population also rose by about 1.4 times to 807,750 from 567,065 in the same period. Over the past five years, 15,935 international students filed refugee claims in the country. Although less than 1% of international students ended up seeking protection in Canada, the annual rate of study permit holders seeking asylum doubled from 0.3% to 0.6% from 2018 to 2022. Critics hit the increase as a show of global displacement trends stemming from wars, conflicts, and violence, alongside Canada’s failed response to the global refugee situation via resettlement efforts. 

The Star

India aims for global education hub status, targeting 500,000 international students by 2047

In an ambitious move to transform its educational landscape, India has announced ambitions to become a global hub for higher education by 2047, targeting 500,000 international students. This vision, outlined by NITI Aayog CEO BVR Subrahmanyam at the 18th FICCI Higher Education Summit, includes establishing education cities and integrating advanced technologies like AI into the higher education sector. Emphasizing innovation and quality enhancement, the plan seeks to position India as a top global education provider, leveraging its demographic dividend and focusing on industry-ready learning.

MSM Reporter

Malaysia's international grads to pay RM450 for pass to work part-time here; RM450 more for each dependent

The Malaysian Immigration Department has unveiled a policy for graduates from 23 low-risk, high-income countries, allowing them to stay for a year for travel or part-time work, at a cost of RM450 (US$ 96.39). Each dependent incurs an additional RM450 (US$ 96.39) fee. This move, part of Malaysia’s visa liberalization strategy, is set to enhance tourism and economic activity in anticipation of Visit Malaysia Year 2026. Graduates must meet specific criteria, including a valid student pass and health insurance, to be eligible for this opportunity.

Malay Mail

Scholarships and funding options for African students pursuing a business master’s in Europe

European business schools, known for their global standing, offer African students numerous scholarships and financial aid for business master’s programs. Options include merit-based scholarships for academic and leadership excellence, specialized grants for women to address gender imbalances in business, and targeted scholarships for African students to promote diversity. Partnerships with organizations like the Forté Foundation provide substantial support for female candidates, while unique opportunities like the Kistefos Young Talented Leaders Scholarship focus on nurturing talent from specific African regions. 

Business Because

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Bay Atlantic University

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Mount Allison University

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