Note From the Editor
Hitting industry headlines recently is the India-Canada diplomatic row, which has resulted in the pullout of visa services for Canadian nationals in India, an unprecedented move since the COVID-19 pandemic. How this will affect international students remains to be seen, but the international education sector is keeping its eyes peeled for further developments.
Meanwhile, amid the current India-Canada row, the US issues a record number of visas to Indian students, while study-abroad platforms urge students to explore other destinations such as the UK. Countries like New Zealand, Japan, and Iran make fresh moves to attract more foreign students.
Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week.
In a significant development, India has suspended visa services for Canadian nationals indefinitely amid escalating diplomatic tension. This unprecedented move follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the assassination of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The suspension, confirmed by visa agency BLS International, took effect on September 21, 2023, with Indian authorities citing “operational reasons” for the suspension. This decision coincides with India’s advisory urging its citizens in Canada to exercise caution due to increased anti-India activities and “politically-sanctioned hate crimes.” Canada, in response, is reassessing its staff presence in India and requesting heightened security measures for its missions, emphasizing the importance of diplomatic protections under the Vienna Convention.
In a historic move, the United States has granted an unprecedented 90,000 student visas to Indian students during the summer months of June to August. This remarkable surge in visa approvals accounts for one in four student visas issued worldwide, highlighting the growing interest among Indian students in pursuing higher education in the US. This development comes amid tensions between India and Canada. The current number surpasses last year’s record of 125,000 US student visas issued to Indians, signaling a significant upward trend in the pursuit of international education.
Amid growing uncertainty caused by the suspension of visa services for Canadian nationals by the Indian government on September 21, study-abroad platforms are advising students the United Kingdom and the US as alternative destinations. Diplomatic tensions between India and Canada have led to concerns about the safety and stability of higher education plans in Canada, traditionally a top preferred destination for Indian students. While some students with existing Canadian visas are proceeding cautiously, many are exploring other countries, including European options, due to the ongoing uncertainty. Higher education consultancies with a focus on Canada are particularly affected by this potential shift in student preferences.
Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is causing an exodus of immigrant entrepreneurs from the US, reveals a recent study by Saerom Lee and Britta Glennon at the Wharton School. Launched in 2013, the program has led to a 69 percent increase in the likelihood of US-based immigrants starting businesses in Canada. The trend is especially noticeable among immigrants of Asian origin. The study underscores the profound impact of immigration policies on entrepreneurial decisions and highlights the need for similar programs in the US to spur economic growth, as well as emphasizes the vital role immigrant entrepreneurs play in the American economy, particularly in fields like artificial intelligence. To stay competitive and attract foreign-born entrepreneurial talent, implementing a start-up visa program in the US could be crucial, potentially reshaping its entrepreneurial landscape.
UK university admissions is undergoing a pivotal shift as the number of domestic 18-year-olds securing placements records its first decline in five years, as reported by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas). This dip follows a drop in applications post-pandemic, with about 85 percent of applicants gaining acceptance in both years. Crucially, international student admissions from outside the European Union saw a 0.9 percent decline, yet they remain 25 percent higher than pre-COVID figures, underscoring the enduring global appeal of UK higher education. This transition reflects shifting student preferences and highlights the renewed focus on inclusivity and opportunity in the higher education landscape.
Australia’s immigration surge fueled by Indian partnerships raises concerns of a diplomatic crisis, according to some experts. The Australian government’s deliberate efforts to boost immigration from India through migration deals and visa provisions have triggered worries, with parallels to Canada’s immigration numbers. As Canada reduces diplomats in India and faces visa suspensions amid a diplomatic row over a Sikh activist’s murder, Australia’s government is closely monitoring the situation. India’s warning to its citizens about traveling to Canada suggests a potential shift in student immigration patterns, potentially impacting Australia’s ongoing immigration challenges.
New Zealand’s Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins has criticized the National Party’s international education plan as a “nothing policy.” Hipkins argued that New Zealand already maintains an efficient visa process and minimal barriers for international students. National Party leader Christopher Luxon proposed expanding work rights and diversifying recruitment efforts for international students, but Hipkins contended that these initiatives do not significantly differ from the current system. Hipkins also noted that New Zealand’s international education sector is recovering post-pandemic, contributing $3.7 billion to the economy before the crisis. Despite the National Party’s lead in the polls, questions about policy implementation and transparency are raising doubts about their initiatives.
A contentious proposal in The Netherlands seeks to curb the popularity of English-taught classes in universities. As international students flock to Dutch institutions, the plan calls for more classes in the Dutch language and enrollment restrictions for non-Dutch EU citizens. Critics argue it could hinder cultural diversity and innovation, while proponents see it as a remedy for overcrowding. With the proposal’s fate uncertain, The Netherlands grapples with striking a balance between inclusivity and preserving its cultural identity amid political shifts in Europe.
A growing wave of Chinese parents is increasingly interested in sending their children on study tours to the US, seeking American educational exposure during summer vacations. Yvonne Shi, director of Offer Education Consulting in California, notes a substantial uptick in inquiries, even amid Beijing-Washington tensions. The age bracket has shifted downward, encompassing junior high and elementary school students. The primary objective is to acquaint Chinese students with diverse US educational methods and systems. Additionally, athletic programs attract students by offering varied training experiences and opportunities to play with local teams. These tours are also geared toward enhancing English language skills.
Canada’s Senate members have issued a report focused on bolstering the integrity of the country’s international student program. Concerns include education agents directing students to ineligible Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) programs and inadequate student housing conditions. The report recommends conducting a national review of Designated Learning Institutions’ financial sustainability, enhancing oversight, raising awareness about PGWP eligibility, ensuring adequate housing, and informing international students of their rights. Federal-level recommendations propose a national language standard for admission criteria, strengthening the verification process for Letters of Admission (LOAs), and reforming immigration regulations for education agents. Provincial suggestions include stricter tuition regulations and penalties for DLIs benefiting from dubious agent behavior.
International students in Japan see job prospects rise as the economy recovers from COVID-19. A survey of 362 international students showed a 52.5 percent job offer rate in July 2023, up from 48 percent the previous year. While this is the highest since 2017, it still trails behind Japanese students at 86 percent. About 62.1 percent of international students were actively job hunting, double the rate of Japanese students. Key priorities for international students in job searches include “communication” and “language” skills.
In a bid to bolster its global educational presence, Iran’s Ministry of Science has unveiled its ambitious plan to substantially increase the number of international students from the current 100,000 to 320,000 by 2026. Hashem Dadashpour, head of the Organization of Student Affairs, outlined the strategy and emphasized the pivotal role of strengthening scientific authority, fostering public diplomacy, and expanding the Persian language. This initiative marks a significant step toward internationalizing Iranian universities and promoting cross-cultural exchange. Currently, students from 119 countries are studying in Iran, and efforts are underway to streamline visa processes and enhance online resources to attract even more students. An exhibition is also scheduled to showcase the benefits of studying in Iran.
Montana State University Billings (MSUB) offers affordable, quality education with 115 academic programs across five colleges, including Liberal Arts, Business, Education, Health Professions, and City College. Graduates earn more, with a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio for personalized support. MSUB’s regional opportunities enhance accessibility. Student’s life on the university’s 110-acre campus is vibrant and diverse. Whether a student is starting or returning to college, MSUB aligns with their goals and societal needs.
Students seeking to elevate their future can consider the Business Administration degree offered by Cape Breton University. This program provides essential skills for various career paths, including accounting, human resources, and marketing. The faculty, including experienced entrepreneurs, offers comprehensive guidance with a focus on practical knowledge. Students have the opportunity to customize their education through elective courses, gaining a competitive edge in the job market. Choosing this program allows individuals to build a solid foundation for their future endeavors.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.