Note From the Editor
In a significant move, the federal government of Canada has announced reforms to the International Student program, including Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) to be required to confirm the letter of acceptance directly with IRCC, a new “recognized institution” framework set to benefit postsecondary institutions setting high standards, and an assessment of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
In the US, Republican politicians want to slap international students with visa revocation for their anti-Israeli protests and sentiments, while the UK is rocked with allegations of illegal visa appointments targeting overseas students and workers in South Asia.
Countries like Ireland, France, and Argentina continue to woo international students with their set targets, scholarships, and career prospects.
Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week, or have a look at our special coverage of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict as it relates to international education.
Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller unveils reforms to counter admissions fraud in the International Student Program, targeting completion by the fall semester of 2024. Key measures include requiring Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to directly verify acceptance letters with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) from December 1, 2023. Additionally, a “Recognized Institutions Framework” will elevate DLI standards, offering priority processing for study permits. The government will also assess the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) criteria to align with labor market needs. Amid these efforts – details of which will be disclosed later – to combat fraud, Canada remains committed to hosting a record 900,000 international students this year.
Three Republican presidential contenders, namely Tim Scott, Ron DeSantis, and former President Donald Trump, have pledged to take action against international students protesting in support of Palestine. Scott proposed visa revocation for those involved, citing concerns about promoting anti-American sentiment. Ron DeSantis similarly stated that he would cancel visas for foreign students celebrating terrorism. Former President Trump echoed this stance, promising to address radical anti-American sentiments among foreign students. These calls follow student protests over the Israel-Hamas conflict, sparking a debate on free speech and international relations.
An investigation by The Observer has revealed a thriving illicit trade in United Kingdom visa appointments targeting overseas students and workers in South Asia. Brokers allegedly charge exorbitant fees of up to £800 for appointments that should be free, employing tactics such as automated bots and reselling unnecessary appointments. This issue, most pronounced in Pakistan, has led to missed deadlines and significant expenses for applicants. Critics call for a simpler and more transparent booking process, while VFS Global, the outsourcing company responsible for visa applications, is taking measures to combat abuse. The Home Office pledges to address the problem and encourages applicants to book directly through their official website, emphasizing the need for a more accessible appointment system.
Ireland is strengthening its partnerships with Korean universities to attract international students and researchers, focusing on science and research collaborations. The country’s unique appeal as an English-speaking European Union nation emerges as a key advantage. Initiatives like Innovate for Ireland offer funding for Ph.D. scholars in areas such as climate change, global health, and cybersecurity. Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has attracted major tech companies, although it is poised to increase to 15 percent for large firms starting next year due to EU regulations. To prepare for this change, Ireland is establishing funds like the Sovereign Wealth Fund. Housing shortages, driven by increased immigration and a growing population, are also being addressed with substantial investments in public and private housing units.
College of the North Atlantic (CNA) in Newfoundland and Labrador reports an exceptional 80 percent increase in international student enrollment this year. CNA’s aggressive global recruitment strategy, particularly in India, has contributed to this surge, with 671 international students joining. The institution now offers 11 new programs, including applied degrees in early childhood education and cybersecurity. Additionally, CNA is prioritizing online learning to enhance accessibility. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Vietnamese investment group hints at international expansion, offering Vietnamese students Canadian credentials. This surge represents CNA’s highest enrollment since 2016.
Over 4,500 Indian students participated in the Choose France Tour 2023 held in Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata from October 8 to 15, as part of France’s ambition to attract 30,000 Indian students by 2030. This initiative showcased France’s growing popularity in diverse fields, with representatives from 48 prestigious French universities and institutions promoting programs in management, social sciences, STEM, and more. Jean-Marc Séré-Charlet, French consul general in Mumbai, stressed the importance of academic collaborations and expanding program options. Despite stiff competition, France’s two-year stayback feature remains appealing to Indian students. The focus on joint training courses, scholarships, and language accessibility also demonstrates its commitment to strengthening its educational ties with India.
In a pivotal move, Universities Australia endorses the National Skills Agreement, led by the Albanese government, to address Australia’s pressing skills deficit. This collaborative effort between the government and the education sector aims to enhance the accessibility and quality of vocational training to meet evolving job market demands. CEO Catriona Jackson emphasizes its urgency amid economic challenges, highlighting the increasing need for higher education degrees in sectors like healthcare and professional services. With a focus on national priorities such as net-zero emissions and digital growth, this AU$ 12.6 billion (US$ 8.02 billion) agreement prioritizes TAFE and skill development while committing to reforms that strengthen the VET sector.
In a significant development, the US Department of State has expanded its Welcome Corps program, allowing US universities to sponsor refugees. This new policy titled Welcome Corps on Campus, set to launch in the fall of 2024, aims to ease visa challenges for prospective students in refugee camps, enabling them to enroll in US colleges. It eliminates the need for an F-1 visa, traditionally a significant barrier for international students. This initiative not only benefits refugees but also enriches the cultural fabric of US universities, providing American students with diverse perspectives. State Department data reveals that only 6 percent of refugees currently have access to higher education.
India has decided to partially lift the suspension of visa services for Canadians, marking a development in their month-long diplomatic dispute triggered by allegations of India’s involvement in the extrajudicial assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh on Canadian soil. While entry visa, business visa, medical visa, and conference visa services have resumed, tourist visas and e-visas remain suspended. This feud has disrupted travel and business, and Canada faces challenges processing visas for Indians due to limited staff in India. The US, meanwhile, is closely watching the situation yet its response remains uncertain, given its complex relationships with both nations and past actions on foreign soil.
Italy is facing a pressing need for 280,000 migrants annually due to its rapidly aging population. With Italians having the highest median age in Europe at 48 years, the country anticipates a decline of 7.8 million people in the working-age population, potentially leading to a labor shortage. To address this, Italy plans to admit 452,000 foreign workers, with 136,000 expected in 2023 alone. This figure could increase to 165,000 by 2025. Recent government approval of a new program for foreign worker entry between 2023-25 seeks to bridge the labor gap. However, the majority of foreign workers potentially face low-skilled, low-paid, and often unsafe jobs, impacting their quality of life.
A recent MetroPOLL Research survey conducted in October, titled Turkey’s Pulse, has unveiled a growing interest in living abroad among Turkish citizens, with 39.1 percent expressing a desire for international residence or study. This aspiration is most pronounced among supporters of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party, now HEDEP, followed by backers of the nationalist İYİ Party and the far-right nationalist Victory Party (ZP). Party-affiliated breakdown shows varying levels of interest. While in January 2021, 47.3 percent responded affirmatively, the figure rose to 53 percent in 2023, indicating a shifting mindset. This desire for international living has manifested in increased enrollment in foreign language courses within Turkey and a surge in asylum seekers, particularly in Germany, this year.
Argentina offers exceptional academic opportunities for international students with tuition-free education in public universities and affordable fees in private institutions. The University of Buenos Aires consistently ranks among Latin America’s top educational institutions, offering a gateway to diverse career prospects in technology, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. Graduates can secure work permits, potentially leading to permanent residency. Scholarships abound in the form of OAS scholarships covering tuition up to $10,000, Mente Argentina Scholarships with financial rewards, National University of San Juan Scholarships, University of Buenos Aires Scholarships, Catholic University of Salta Scholarships, and Holt Scholarships, each with its unique benefits and Spanish language requirements.
Established in 1838, Acadia University – nestled an hour from Halifax, Nova Scotia in Wolfville – boasts a rich history and international appeal. With 3,574 students from diverse backgrounds, it offers a rigorous academic curriculum enriched by collaborative learning and dedicated professors. Beyond academics, Acadia fosters a close-knit community that promotes engagement, research, and lifelong friendships. Co-curricular activities and a commitment to diversity nurture well-rounded graduates. Acadia’s liberal arts education and vibrant spirit provide a strong foundation for students’ future endeavors, whether in travel, postgraduate studies, careers, or family life, preparing them for a lifetime of success.
Students can discover a solid foundation for the future in computing with the Computer Information Systems-Information Technology degree program at Community College of Philadelphia. Students can gain expertise in PC operating systems, applications software, data communications, networking, database management, programming, and systems analysis and design. CCP helps students tailor their path by choosing elective courses, allowing specialization or a broader understanding of computing. Graduates excel in communication, teamwork, system installation, and database design. At CCP, students can build a rewarding career in the world of computer information systems.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.