Canada has extended the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students studying online from abroad, while the United States has fortified its ties with India with the unveiling of the India-US Global Challenges Institute, a virtual platform for collaborative research among top higher education institutions.
Over in the UK, Nigerian students – who make up one of the largest international student communities in the UK, with a record 73 percent year-on-year increase in sponsored study visas – grapple with the UK Home Office’s crackdown on immigration rules, specifically the 20-hour work limit for students during term time.
In their own bid for a bigger share of foreign students, countries like Ireland, New Zealand, France, and Germany, make their own move via new or updated study abroad, study visa and immigration policies.
Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week.
Canada has extended the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility for international students studying online from abroad. The extension, now in effect until December 31, 2023, benefits students who applied for a study permit no later than the end of August the previous year and were enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs before August 31, 2023. It allows up to 100 percent of their program to be completed online from outside Canada, with that time counting toward their PGWP. This extension also aids students who faced disruptions due to course cancellations during the pandemic. International graduates applying for a PGWP before their study permit expires can work full-time while awaiting a decision, provided they meet specific criteria. The exemption of the Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) requirement simplifies the process for Quebec-based students.
In a major development, India and the United States have unveiled the India-US Global Challenges Institute, a virtual platform for collaborative research among top higher education institutions. The initiative will focus on cutting-edge advancements in fields like sustainable energy, health, artificial intelligence, and more. Abhay Karandikar, co-chair of the institute, highlighted its virtual operation and coordination, with research activities happening on participating campuses. Initial funding of $10 million will kickstart research proposals, with additional funding from various sources. The institute’s governing council will feature joint leadership, with Barbara R. Snyder co-chairing from the US side. The two nations also announced other collaborative ventures in critical technologies.
The UK Home Office’s crackdown on immigration rules, specifically the 20-hour work limit for Nigerian students during term time, has led to a number of arrests and detentions. With Nigerian students being a significant presence in the United Kingdom, financial challenges add to their struggles. Experts stress compliance with visa rules to avoid consequences, including visa cancellation and future entry bans. The government’s strict immigration policies and enforcement actions underline the seriousness of the issue. Nigerians comprise one of the largest international student communities in the UK, with a record 73 percent year-on-year increase in sponsored study visas. Yet many of them face unique financial pressures, including the escalating cost of living in the host country and the recent devaluation of their currency, the naira.
Ireland has seen a tenfold increase in Indian student enrollment, from 700 in 2013 to an expected 7,000 in 2023. This growth is driven by practical factors: Ireland’s respected universities, English-language instruction, and membership to the European Union. A two-year post-graduation work visa is a key draw, particularly for the 90 percent of Indian students pursuing postgraduate degrees. This visa not only benefits students but also offers enticing career prospects with multinational companies, transcending borders. Ireland is rapidly becoming a favored destination for Indian talent, solidifying its position as a global education hub.
Punjabi students are increasingly considering European countries like Malta, Latvia, Germany, and others for their higher education. These countries offer English-medium courses at a fraction of the cost of those offered in universities in traditional study destinations. The lure of affordable fees, promising employment prospects, and the possibility of using these nations as gateways to other European countries have led to this shift in preferences. While the presence of Punjabi communities is limited, the cost-effective education and potential for permanent residency in Europe are driving this trend, reflecting the Punjabi youth’s inclination to explore new avenues for their international education goals.
Australia has witnessed an unprecedented surge in international student arrivals, with a record 502,000 visa holders (excluding tourists) entering the country in the year up to July. Of these, 297,000 held student visas. Temporary visa numbers hit a record 2,554,201 in July 2023, equating to around one in 10 people in Australia being temporary migrants, primarily driven by international students. July 2023 saw a record 654,870 temporary student visas issued, up by 300,000 from the previous year. Concerns around the influx – thought to be driven primarily by favorable government policies – are rising, however, with experts warning of potential community pushback and quality risks.
New Zealand’s NZeTA, an Electronic Travel Authority, simplifies travel for Norwegian, Romanian, Omani, Qatari, and South Korean citizens. Launched in July 2019, this system allows visa-free entry for tourism, business, or transit for up to 90 days within a two-year validity period. To avail, applicants need to ensure their passport remains valid for six months beyond arrival, provide travel details, and have email access for confirmation. Online payment via credit/debit card or PayPal is required. This digital process eliminates embassy visits, making New Zealand more accessible. Multiple passport holders must use the same one for NZeTA application and entry.
Visa wait times for international students are discouraging global talent from choosing US universities. Some face year-long waits, impacting enrollment numbers. Ibrahima Sow’s experience missing his Carnegie Mellon semester due to visa delays illustrates the issue. Juan Pablo Perez has also faced a unique situation where he paid for an empty apartment in the Bay Area as he waited. Experts warn of the economic and credibility costs to the leading international student destination; while the State Department cites legal requirements for in-person interviews and biometrics, the lengthy visa waits remain a significant challenge for both international applicants and US institutions.
In a triumph for international students, particularly those hailing from India and previously accommodated in North Bay hotels, a vocal protest outside Canadore College’s Commerce Court Campus has resulted in a swift resolution. The college agreed to arrange affordable housing and offer full fee refunds without deductions, effectively ending the students’ plight. Meanwhile, discussions at the federal level consider capping international student numbers to alleviate housing concerns. Nova Scotia’s Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong stresses the need for students from abroad to exercise due diligence. Updates on the agreement and the potential for online classes at Canadore College await further details.
France is reaching out to Indian students with the “Choose France Tour 2023.” From October 8 to 15, 2023, education fairs will be held in Chennai, Kolkata, New Delhi, and Mumbai. This initiative, organized by Campus France India and the French Institute in India, offers Indian students a unique chance to meet representatives from over 40 leading French universities. Attendees can explore various study options, scholarships, and more. France aims to host 30,000 Indian students by 2030 and plans to introduce “international classes” to provide comprehensive training in the French language and other disciplines.
The Philippines and Australia have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allowing citizens ages 18 to 31 with two years of education to seek employment during vacations. These visa holders will abide by the host nation’s labor laws, but health, character, and national security prerequisites still apply. Additionally, they must maintain medical insurance. While the visa application fee remains undisclosed, this pact creates opportunities for young job seekers in both countries. The deal was signed during an official visit of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last September 8, although the two countries have yet to announce when the new visa schemes will take effect.
Germany prioritizes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, integrating subjects like math and physics early on as backed by full government support. High demand for STEM professionals, including engineers, IT experts, and data scientists, brings job opportunities, particularly in manufacturing. The top five in-demand STEM skills are engineering, information technology, biotechnology, data science, and robotics, and as entry requirements vary by field and include standardized tests, aspiring STEM students are expected to provide necessary and strong documents. Germany remains a thriving hub for STEM enthusiasts to pursue careers.
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MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.