Note From the Editor
Over the weekend in a CBC interview, Canadian immigration minister Marc Miller sounded the alarm on the “integrity” of the immigration system due to the skyrocketing number of international students entering the country. For context, Canada is on track to host about 900,000 international students this year – more than at any point in the country’s history.
In a story of contrasts and similarities, US international student enrollments are on the decline due to restrictive immigration policies just as Canadian universities experience a surge in applications. In the UK, the latest official immigration data reveals a substantial increase in the number of Nigerian students granted sponsored study visas.
The news reflects multiple drivers for these highs and lows in foreign student interest and applications, like what countries like Australia, Turkey, and European nations are seeing.
Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller expresses concerns over the escalating influx of international students, potentially compromising the integrity of the immigration system. The statement comes as the country is poised to welcome around 900,000 international students this year – tripling numbers from a decade ago – and while acknowledging housing challenges in the country. Housing Minister Sean Fraser’s proposal to cap student admissions sparks contentious discussions, with universities and experts opposing the idea, highlighting international students’ contribution to skill development and underscoring systemic failures in housing that have occurred before the influx of foreign students. Miller, however, refrains from endorsing a strict cap, emphasizing the importance of understanding the root problems and seeking comprehensive solutions.
US international student enrollments are on the decline due to restrictive immigration policies, while Canadian universities experience a surge in applications, particularly from Indian students and attributed to more liberal immigration and work policies. The H1B visa program’s limitations in the US have made post-graduation employment pathways challenging for international students, on top of mounting visa denial concerns. In contrast, Canadian institutions are benefiting from a 48% enrollment increase, as bolstered by favorable immigration rules. A noticeable decrease in Chinese student numbers further disadvantages the US. Urgent calls for immigration reform arise after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, with experts suggesting transparency for denied visas. Canada’s swift work permit program for H-1B visa holders also garners high demand, in stark contrast to the US.
The latest official immigration data reveals a substantial surge in the number of Nigerian students granted sponsored study visas for the UK, with a remarkable 73% increase over the span of just one year. The British government’s statistics, released on Thursday, highlight that Nigerian nationals witnessed the most significant rise among the top five nationalities awarded sponsored study visas. The figures escalated from 33,958 in the year ending June 2022 to 58,680 in the year ending June 2023, resulting in a total of 24,722 sponsored study visas granted to Nigerians during this period. Experts attribute this surge to Nigeria’s intellectual capabilities, large working population, and the UK’s post-Brexit scenario, seeking skills for its future needs.
Canada is scrutinizing its international student program to root out unethical recruitment practices, as the surge in Indian students opting for Canadian universities has prompted a response from the government. Measures are being implemented to combat fraudulent consultants and safeguard prospective applicants from exploitation. Around 96,175 study permits were granted to Indian students in the initial half of 2023. The Canadian government aims to bolster the program’s credibility by reevaluation. Impressively, 84,425 Indians acquired permanent residency in Canada by June 2023. However, challenges persist, as hundreds of Indian students face deportation due to forged documents.
A university official’s critique of Minister Norma Foley’s decision to retain inflated Leaving Cert grades for 2023 highlights concerns of populism and potential lotteries for high-points courses. Prof Pól Ó Dochartaigh warns that excessive high grades could compromise the credibility of the grading system and lead to false expectations for lower-achieving students, contributing to increased dropout rates. Additionally, the discrepancy between grading systems in Northern Ireland and the Republic raises accessibility issues. Minister Foley defends the decision, citing fairness for a unique cohort, while the ongoing debate underscores broader implications of grade inflation on education quality and equity. Over 60,000 students received inflated Leaving Cert grades, sparking discussions about the impact on admissions and academic standards.
Australia takes swift action, closing the visa rule loophole allowing international students to exploit cheaper vocational courses upon arrival. The “concurrent study” provision, intended to enhance job market readiness through supplementary courses, is allegedly being misused to abandon pricier university tracks. Data reveals a sharp rise in concurrent enrollments, prompting reform. Education Minister Jason Clare states that the move would halt unscrupulous practices by “second” providers, safeguarding sector integrity. The decision also raises student visa savings requirements, necessitating proof of A$24,505 ($15,693), a 17% increase, from Oct. 1. International education is Australia’s fourth-largest export industry.
A 50-member trade delegation from New Zealand is in India to enhance bilateral trade worth US$2.5 billion. Delegates spanning diverse sectors, including dairy, manufacturing, aviation, and more, are seeking investment opportunities. Led by New Zealand’s Trade, Agriculture, and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor, discussions encompass potential direct flights and collaboration in the dairy sector, aiming to combat diseases and enhance animal traceability. The trade between the two nations is currently valued at $2.51 billion but holds potential for significant growth. Additionally, New Zealand emerges as a preferred destination for Indian students’ advanced education. The strengthening ties between the nations align with a shared vision documented in “India – New Zealand 2025: Investing in the Relationship.”
Recent research from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) highlights the critical significance of international students for the American AI industry. The study reveals that a substantial 42% of major US AI companies were founded by individuals who arrived as international students. Impressively, nearly 80% of these companies were established by immigrants or their offspring. Notably, 70% of graduate students specializing in AI-related fields in the US originate from foreign nations. The research concludes that retaining foreign graduates is imperative for maintaining American leadership in artificial intelligence, as Stuart Anderson, NFAP’s executive director, tells Forbes.
Turkey has hosted 301,694 international students in universities for the 2022-23 academic year, following the Turkey Foreign Economic Relations Board’s targets set last year. This marks a 526 percent climb since the 2013-14 academic year, when 48,183 students opted to pursue higher education at Turkish higher education institutions. Dominant cohorts of students were from Syria and Azerbaijan with 58,213 and 34,247 students each, while Iran was represented by 22,632 students, Turkmenistan by 18,250 students, and Iraq by 16,172 students. Turkey is now part of the top 10 nations globally in international student numbers, as driven by initiatives such as the Erasmus+ program and ongoing university collaborations.
France is poised to prohibit students from wearing abayas in schools, sparking accusations of religious bias. French Education Minister Gabriel Attal revealed that the robe-like attire often donned by Muslim women would be disallowed in schools starting the forthcoming academic term. Attal cited the principle of laïcité, the separation of religion and state, as the rationale behind the move, aiming to avoid religious identification of students within classrooms. The decision, however, faces criticism from opposition figures like Danièle Obono, who denounced it as an Islamophobic initiative. France previously implemented contentious restrictions on religious attire, such as the hijab ban in sports events. The government’s focus on abayas, highlighting its ongoing efforts to regulate Islamic-related clothing, drew flak from critics arguing that such policies exacerbate societal divides.
Collaboration between American and Chinese scientists has seen a notable 5% drop in joint research papers in 2021, the first decrease in nearly three decades, according to Japan’s Ministry of Education. Despite the pandemic, the decline is attributed to increasing political tensions and technological decoupling between the two nations. This drop contrasts with a 7 percent rise in global cross-border research partnerships. Experts suggest strained US-China relations are likely driving this trend, potentially reshaping international research dynamics and prompting China to enhance its research capabilities independently. The ramifications of this decline on future scientific collaboration and geopolitical influences remain a subject of debate.
Some 60 Ghanaian students have been granted the esteemed Erasmus Scholarship, opening the doors to advanced education across renowned European institutions. The announcement, made at a pre-departure event in Accra on August 22 by European Union Ambassador to Ghana Irchad Razaaly, marks a significant milestone in fostering international academic ties and cultural exchange. Covering a diverse array of disciplines, this scholarship program not only bolsters educational partnerships but also aligns with the EU’s vision of interconnected global education.
Nipissing University’s origins trace back to the North Bay Normal School in the 1900s, evolving into Nipissing University College in 1967, affiliated with Laurentian University. Attaining full autonomy in 1992, the university was established to address Northern Ontario’s distinct requirements, anchoring its strategies in academic excellence and an immersive student experience.
Renowned for its undergraduate focus, Nipissing excels in arts, science, teacher education, and professional programs. The university is also recognized for top-tier student support, engagement, faculty quality, and residences, as well as its commitment to student success. Dedicated to inclusivity, Nipissing enrolls growing numbers of first-generation, indigenous, and disabled students, championing accessibility in higher education. Beyond academia, the university actively contributes to the betterment of communities it serves, leaving a positive imprint on education, culture, and local economies.
Accredited by AACSB, the Department of Accountancy at East Tennessee State University offers a B.B.A. in Accountancy, with a clear path to the Master of Accounting for professional roles. The M.Acc. program, a 33-credit journey, empowers students with accounting mastery and meets certification requirements for CPA, CMA, or CIA. Aiming high, B.B.A. students need a minimum 2.0 GPA across core and major courses, with a “C” grade mandate for all. Challenges come thrice, after which appeals beckon. The Senior Business Exam paves the way to MGMT 4910.
East Tennessee State University is a global community of 14,000 students from 50+ countries and all 50 states. With 166 respected academic programs, including nationally ranked ones, ETSU stands among the top 10 percent of low-student debt colleges. Supporting 862 military-affiliated students, it’s also truly veteran-friendly.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.