Note From the Editor
All eyes are on Canada as it announces that it will double the cost-of-living requirements for international students applying for study permits. Starting January 1, 2024, single applicants must demonstrate they have CA$20,635 compared to the previous CA$10,000, seen as a bid to align with the current cost of living in the country.
Australia, on the other hand, says it would tighten visa rules for international students and low-skilled workers, likely slashing its migrant intake over the next two years in half as the government looks to fix what it sees as a “broken” migration system.
This week’s edition also offers international education news from New Zealand (potential caps to its “unsustainable” immigration levels), Germany (the 21 visa categories it offers), and India (discussions around recognizing online degrees from foreign universities and highlighting the value of TNE).
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 Canada amid new updates rolled out for its international student program.
Canada is significantly raising the financial threshold for international students applying for study permits. Starting January 1, 2024, single applicants must demonstrate they have CA$20,635 (US$15,171) compared to the previous CA$10,000 ($7,351). This move is touted as a response to the country’s cost-of-living crisis, including a housing affordability problem and reports of international students relying on food banks. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to align the financial requirement with the current cost of living to ensure students have sufficient funds. IRCC also plans to hold educational institutions accountable for providing suitable housing for international students, potentially capping visas if needed.
The 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests has exposed a concerning potential slide in the United Kingdom’s educational standards, particularly in mathematics and reading. This downturn, reflecting the worst performance since 2006, is largely attributed to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing structural challenges in the education system. The report also highlights significant quality disparities within the UK, notably between Wales and England. It emphasizes the urgent need for targeted reforms and investments to bridge widening attainment gaps and restore pre-pandemic educational levels.
Australia has announced Monday that it will tighten visa rules for international students and low-skilled workers, potentially halving its migrant intake over the next two years as its government eyes an overhaul to its “broken” migration system. Under the new rule, international students would need to secure higher ratings on English tests and face more scrutiny on a second visa application that would prolong their stay along with stricter language requirements and limited working hours. Australia is undertaking the said immigration reforms to bring migration back to “normal levels,” addressing issues like migrant worker exploitation and misuse of international student visas in aims of ending the reliance on temporary workers and providing pathways to permanent residency. Australia also plans to fast-track highly skilled workers through a one-week processing time for a specialist visa to compete in the global labor market.
The US House Committee on Education and the Workforce has initiated a formal investigation into Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) over allegations of widespread antisemitism. The controversy was sparked by evasive responses from university presidents during a committee session, prompting the committee to employ substantial document requests and the potential use of subpoenas. This investigation raises questions about the institutions’ commitment to combating hate speech and maintaining a safe environment for all students. It also reflects broader concerns about antisemitism in educational settings and may influence future policies and public perception of these universities.
Irish universities are bound to receive a €33.4 million (approximately US$ 36.04 million) boost through the KT Boost program, aimed at enhancing knowledge transfer and research commercialization. Backed by Enterprise Ireland and Minister Simon Coveney, TD, the four-year initiative will strengthen innovation and technology transfer offices across Irish higher education institutes. The funding aims to equip these offices with the necessary expertise to facilitate research commercialization, including IP management and prospective licensing. Co-funded by the Irish government and the European Regional Development Fund, KT Boost seeks to maximize the impact of Ireland’s research system on innovation and enterprise development.
Prime Minister Christopher Luxon of New Zealand has voiced his concerns about the country’s soaring immigration numbers, calling them unsustainable. In a recent interview with Radio New Zealand, Luxon highlighted the annual net immigration gain of 118,835 people, stating that it “doesn’t feel sustainable.” He acknowledged the need to address shortages following lockdowns but emphasized the expectation of a gradual slowdown in immigration. New Zealand’s population saw its largest increase in over 30 years, prompting concerns of rising rents, housing prices, and inflation. Luxon stressed the importance of aligning immigration policies with workforce needs and infrastructure development.
Germany has announced 21 distinct visa categories, offering a range of opportunities for individuals seeking to work, study, or live in the country. These visas encompass diverse purposes, including short-term tourism, skilled work, and family reunification. Each visa category specifies particular requirements, such as job offers, financial stability, or health insurance coverage. A valid passport, travel insurance, and proof of accommodation are essential components of the application process, equipping prospective expatriates with informed decisions about pursuing their goals in Germany.
In light of the Canadian government doubling the money that prospective international students need to study in Canada, some segments have expressed worry over the affordability of Canadian education to foreign applicants. Jawad Chowdhury, executive director of campaigns for Memorial University’s student union, said that while the new rule is a “big step” toward being open and transparent with prospective students, many cannot afford the more than $80,000 that a four-year program would require. A cap of 20 work hours per week for studying international students – which can further dampen their financial capabilities – is also set to come back into effect in the new year.
India’s recent University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations have triggered industry discussions about recognizing online degrees from foreign universities. Under the rule, foreign higher educational qualifications will be acknowledged under specific conditions, including recognition in the home country, in-person instruction, adherence to Indian entry standards, and similar program duration. Equivalence certificates issued by the commission will be accepted by Indian universities for admissions and employment purposes, but these regulations do not determine disciplinary parity or suitability for specific programs or jobs. The move highlights the importance of transnational education (TNE), especially due to restrictions on students traveling with dependents. However, experts raise concerns about administrative complexities and financial risks associated with TNE implementation, where high-ranking universities may hesitate to adopt a campus-based model in India under the mandated conditions.
Part of Canada’s booming international education sector are Nigerian students flocking to the country. With over 18,000 study permits issued in the first half of 2023 and approval rates doubling, Nigerians are now Canada’s fastest-growing international student population. Nigerian students are more evenly distributed across Canada than average, with Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick each accounting for more than 5% of study permits issued to Nigerians from January to June 2023. Their significance extends beyond education, as they contribute to the nation’s permanent residency statistics and workforce through the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program.
New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) has revoked admissions for international students following a sudden deadline change. The new deadline of November 17 for submitting immigration documents left many students unable to comply, resulting in canceled admissions. Students from Nigeria and Ghana were particularly affected, unable to reapply or defer due to a cap on Nigerian admissions. NBCC attributed the change to significant international growth but faced criticism for the sudden shift. The situation raises questions about international student admissions policies and their impact on educational aspirations.
A recent report by RTI International and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation exposes significant disparities in STEM education for Black and Latinx PhD students compared to their white and Asian counterparts. Notable findings include a high percentage of African American and Latinx STEM PhD graduates attending Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and accumulating substantial federal student loan debt. The report highlights a lack of access to prestigious research universities, hindering Black STEM PhDs’ chances of securing faculty positions. Nearly 25% of African American Ph.D. graduates, too, earn their STEM degrees from for-profit institutions. This report underscores the urgent need for action within the STEM community to address these inequalities and promote inclusivity.
Nestled below the rimrocks, MSU Billings offers affordable, transformative education with 115 academic programs across five colleges. Graduates earn higher wages than peers, benefiting from small class sizes and hands-on learning. Located in Billings, a supportive community with abundant job opportunities, the campus boasts 110 acres of vibrant activities, making it ideal for traditional and non-traditional learners seeking individual and societal fulfillment.
Prospective students can explore their artistic and technical potential through the Digital Arts Diploma Program at Selkirk College. Under the guidance of a dedicated faculty, individuals can delve into various creative domains, including graphic design, animation, web development, and more. The program offers hands-on experience in digital photography, video editing, and mobile app development, fostering a solid foundation in traditional and digital arts and setting the stage for advanced techniques and effective project management. In a rapidly evolving digital media industry, graduates are well-equipped with multimedia production skills, enhancing their employability and opening doors to success.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.