Note From the Editor
Big Tech’s mass layoffs in the United States continue to cast doubt on STEM international students’ job prospects and future in the country, the same way that plans to curb the number of students coming to the United Kingdom to reduce overall immigration are poised to hurt the “soft power” benefits of international education.
Canada’s Alberta province is going in another direction, addressing a critical shortage of nurses by announcing new investment – to the tune of more than $15 million – in training and supporting more nurses with intl ed.
Foreign students also find it their “duty to give back” as they devote their time and resources to aid Turkey earthquake victims.
Join us as we explore this week’s intl ed news amid international students’ return to host countries like Australia (and face mounting rental challenges) and dealing with post-study opportunities and woes in this week’s MSM Reporter edition.
Big players in the tech industry including Amazon, Microsoft, Meta, and Google have announced and implemented job cuts by the thousands. The said announcement is reason enough for international students from the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to worry about their studies, spelling trouble for plans and prospects to stay and work in the United States. As stated in US laws, international students are allowed to work in the country for one year after they finish school under Optional Practical Training (OPT); for STEM students, the program extends their work permit for an additional two years in their field of study. For the unemployed, time is running out: Students on an F-1 visa must find a job within the first 90 days after completing their studies.
To address a critical shortage of nurses in the province’s healthcare system, the Alberta government has recently announced plans to invest more than $15 million in training and supporting more nurses with international education. Initially, $7.8 million have been set aside allowing students to access up to $30,000 in bursaries. The remainder of the funds will create 600 new seats for nurse bridging programs at Bow Valley College and Mount Royal University in Calgary and NorQuest College in Edmonton. Recipients must complete one year of nursing service in Alberta for every $6,000 awarded and it will become available during the 2023-24 school year.
The United Kingdom’s education secretary Gillian Keegan has signaled that she will push back against the Home Office’s planned effort to curb the number of international students coming to the UK in a bid to reduce overall immigration, citing the “soft power” benefits of international students in the country. The UK “should be very proud” of its universities since they were a “hugely valuable” export success. On the other hand, Keegan made it clear that she would help the Home Office get rid of any systemic abuse. The Home Secretary is mulling over slashing the two-year grace period for international students after they complete their degrees, which means those who fail to get a work visa or skilled job six months after graduating will be forced to leave the UK.
The Dutch government has requested all public universities to stop accepting international students in The Netherlands in a letter from the Minister of Education, Culture, and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf. The letter emphasized the importance of international students to the country but explained that the request was necessary due to the strain on faculty, inadequate facilities, and shortage in housing. Dijkgraaf noted that these factors may have long-term repercussions on the quality, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of the Dutch higher university system, yet provided exemptions for highly selective and targeted recruitment for programs that address regional shortages in the fields of healthcare, research, and education.
Over 40,000 Chinese students are expected to return to Australia for their face-to-face classes, a forecast that comes after China’s recent announcement of its snap ban on online learning at foreign universities. The Chinese government’s abrupt decision came just weeks before the start of the first semester, with many students left scrambling to go back to Australia. With student accommodation at capacity in many cities, tens of thousands of students are to compete with other renters in an already tight rental market. A Sydney real estate agent said demand from international students had already soared, with many eyeing areas already outside the suburbs near the universities and offering months’ rent in advance to get approved.
In the aftermath of the global spread of COVID-19, which caused the number of international students in the United States to drop from more than 347,000 in the 2018-19 academic year to 14,549 in 2020-21, the country’s international education sector is poised to make a post-pandemic comeback. A national survey from April 2022 found that nearly 90% of schools planned to have some sort of study abroad program available by the following summer. Yet much has changed with how study abroad programs operate, so it’s critical to explore relevant matters such as a plan B in case the program gets disrupted, host country restrictions, the need for extra insurance, scholarships to defray costs, and the latest travel risks.
Immigration data has shown thousands of Chinese students in Canada may have gone back to China during the pandemic. According to Canadian universities and officials, they are now preparing to welcome some of these students back, after the Chinese government ordered students who are taking online classes with universities overseas to go back to their face-to-face classes. In a directive released in late January, the Chinese Ministry of Education said students studying online in China would need to go back to foreign campuses this spring semester, or their qualifications would not be recognized in the country’s job market. The number of Chinese students in the country with study permits fell by more than 30,000 or 19% during the pandemic, from 173,365 in 2019 to 141,085 in 2021, according to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
In an attempt to beat the long wait time in India, several Hyderabad students with admission letters to universities in the US are traveling to other Asian nations to get visas. One who’s pursuing his MBA in New York said there were no slots available in Hyderabad for students whose visa applications had been declined earlier. Among the destinations, international students go to get a visa in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. At present, the wait time for non-immigrant visas is quite high; in Hyderabad, those applying for F, M, and J visas need to wait for 70 days while someone can get slots in Vietnam in only six days. US authorities themselves are encouraging travelers to obtain their visas through embassies in other countries.
In 2022, the number of international students enrolled at Polish universities increased by 5.6% to nearly 89,500, according to recent data. This rise in enrollment is attributed to the country’s growing reputation for quality education, affordable tuition fees, and lower living expenses compared to other European countries. However, despite this increase, factors such as the language barrier and a lack of job opportunities for graduates make Poland a laggard, remaining one of the least internationalized countries in the European Union. More students are heading to neighboring countries, namely the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Lithuania.
A group of foreign students who come from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq is making a significant contribution to the earthquake relief efforts in Gaziantep, Turkey by providing food and other supplies to those affected by the earthquake that has claimed thousands of lives and brought major destruction to infrastructure. Despite coming from different countries, they share a sense of duty to give back to the country that has given them so much. They work tirelessly to provide aid to those in need, demonstrating the positive impact international students can have on the communities where they study and highlighting the importance of cross-cultural exchange and understanding.
Getting into a good university in India can be challenging due to the high cut-off percentage required for admission and the large number of applicants. However, foreign universities opening campuses locally could potentially offer pathways or foundation programs for students who don’t meet direct entry requirements. This move is hardly seen to negatively affect students who wish to study abroad, as foreign universities offer unique advantages such as exposure to different cultures and expanded job opportunities. The presence of foreign campuses in India is also seen to provide students with additional educational options and opportunities, diversifying and enriching the country’s education landscape.
With other visa options in the US becoming more restricted, an increasing number of F-1 students are now considering the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as an alternative. This scheme allows foreign investors and their families to obtain direct permanent residency in the US by investing $800,000 USD in an approved EB-5 project. While the F-1 visa permits international students to study full-time at accredited US universities, it comes with limitations such as being restricted to part-time on-campus work. After graduation, they can get temporary residency for up to three years under the OPT status, but they must secure a job within 60 days of graduation or leave the country. Obtaining an H1-B visa is difficult due to oversaturation, and the wait time for a green card can exceed 10 years. The EB-5 program offers a secure and reliable way for those who can afford it to gain permanent resident status and work in the country.
The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) is a public community college with four campuses in Philly. It offers over 100 associate degree and certificate programs and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. As a public, open-admission institution, CCP provides academic resources and support services to help students achieve their academic goals. It has served over 685,000 of the city’s residents since its founding in 1965 and offers a learning commons, science laboratories, computer labs, enrollment services, advising, counseling, and a bookstore at each of its locations.
The Diploma in Criminology is designed to provide students with the necessary skills to pursue entry-level positions in the field of criminology or continue their studies in professional and academic programs. Possible career opportunities for diploma holders include lawyer, police officer, correctional services, parole officer, probation officer, border services, aboriginal liaison officer, or detachment clerk. Additionally, completing the diploma can make students eligible for block transfer into the third year of the Bachelor of Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.