Note From the Editor
From October 4, 2023, the UK will introduce increased visa fees including student visa rates, channeling funds into vital services and public sector pay hikes. The US and Vietnam have also solidified a strategic partnership with a $100 million commitment over two years from USAID to bolster Vietnam’s digital economy readiness, strengthen higher education, and expand the skilled workforce.
This week, Taiwan also takes center stage in international education as it mounts its ambitious plan to entice 320,000 international students to the country by 2030 with its planned investment of NT$5.2 billion ($162 million) over five years.
Head over to MSMReporter.com for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week.
From October 4, 2023, the United Kingdom will introduce increased visa fees, channeling funds into vital services and public sector pay hikes. Key changes include a £15 ($18.52) rise in short-term visit visas to £115 ($141.98) and a £127 ($156.81) increase in overseas student visa fees to £490 ($605.10), matching in-country rates. Previously, the government unveiled a 15 percent hike for work and visit visas as well as at least 20 percent for priority visas, study visas, and sponsorship certificates. These adjustments are supposed to balance financial sources, sustain an appealing immigration system, and relieve British taxpayers. Pending parliamentary approval, it’s essential to note that Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) hikes are separate and planned for the autumn.
The United States and Vietnam have solidified a comprehensive strategic partnership marked by a significant $100 million commitment over two years from USAID. This funding will bolster Vietnam’s digital economy readiness, strengthen higher education, and expand the skilled workforce. The partnership’s key initiatives include improving higher education quality, boosting participation in the digital economy, and empowering the workforce for the digital era. This move marks a crucial development in US-Vietnam relations, emphasizing cooperation in education and digital growth.
Latest data from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals a shrinking application backlog despite increased submissions. As of July 31, 802,600 applications were in the backlog out of 2,274,600, down from 820,000 in May. This positive trend defies the usual summer application surge, especially for study permits, work permits, and temporary resident visas. IRCC aims to process 80 percent within service standards, keeping the backlog at 20 percent or lower. In 2022, the agency finalized over 5.2 million applications, implementing measures like an online portal and permit extensions to tackle the backlog. IRCC manages backlogs across categories with varying success rates.
In a significant development, the Temporary Tuition Fee Support Scheme is offering vital European Union tuition fee funding to eligible Ukrainian students under Temporary Protection in Ireland for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year. These students can also benefit from a monthly stipend of €1,150 ($1,229.34) when pursuing full-time courses at publicly funded higher education institutions. Additionally, the PLC Bursary for Displaced Persons Scheme extends a substantial bursary of €6,115 ($6,537.06) to qualified individuals undertaking SOLAS approved Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses. However, it’s important to note that certain progression rules and restrictions apply to ensure the effective allocation of financial support. Students with pre-existing higher education qualifications are excluded from PLC funding opportunities.
Starting October 1, 2023, Australian student visa applicants must show savings of at least $24,505, a 17 percent increase from current levels. This move by the federal government is said to ensure that international students have sufficient financial resources to avoid immediate employment-related stress. Additional scrutiny will be applied to high-risk cohorts, and more documentation may be requested to prevent fraud in applications. The government plans to regulate suspension certificates and is considering using them against high-risk education providers. Abul Rizvi, a former official at the Department of Immigration, noted that this increase aligns with rising living costs. International students emphasize the importance of additional funds for financial security.
In the 2022-23 academic year, the Netherlands has welcomed a staggering 123,000 international students, constituting 15 percent of the total student body. Europe takes the lead as the primary source of these global scholars, closely followed by Asia, South and North America, Africa, and Oceania students. An interesting trend emerges in their chosen fields: journalism, social sciences, behavioral sciences, and law, administration, and business services are favored, while healthcare and education take a back seat. Furthermore, the Netherlands has witnessed a remarkable surge in international graduates since 2006, with a third of 2018-19 graduates finding employment within the country. Technical fields also witness higher international graduate rates, with the field of study significantly impacting employment prospects.
Amid concerns over deportations and challenges faced by some Indian students in the US, the US Embassy in New Delhi cautions Indian students amid rising numbers heading to the country. With Indians set to overtake the Chinese as the leading source of international students in the US, the embassy stresses the importance of students choosing the right path and consulting trusted organizations like EducationUSA. Academic collaborations between India and the US, highlighted during the G20 summit, offer promising opportunities for students and institutions. The Indo-US Global Challenges Institute, aiming to address crucial economic, environmental, and technological issues, notes a surge in Indian and US universities collaborating on research, with potential interest in setting up campuses in India as research initiatives gain prominence.
Some 300 international students are struggling to find accommodation at Canadore and Nipissing University as well as in North Bay, with the issue of the lack of affordable accommodation extending across the country and impacting hundreds more international students. Housing Minister Sean Fraser’s suggestion to cap international student numbers is said to overlook the segment’s substantial $22.3 billion contribution to Canada’s economy. Some industry insiders note that blaming foreign students for a crisis rooted in past policies is unwarranted, as they become easy scapegoats in a complex housing crisis that involves more than newcomer demand.
Despite growing tensions between India and Canada, the influx of Indian students into Canadian institutions remains noteworthy. Since 2018, India has become Canada’s leading source of international students, with their numbers surging by 47 percent in 2022 to nearly 320,000. These students represent about 40 percent of all international enrollments in Canada, facilitating cost-effective education for domestic students. In the context of the strained diplomatic relationship, the significance of this student demographic becomes evident, contributing to Canada’s education sector and cultural exchange. The trajectory of Indian students in Canada is a pivotal aspect amid evolving bilateral dynamics.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) has announced an ambitious plan to entice 320,000 international students to the country by 2030. With an investment of NT$5.2 billion ($162 million) over five years, the MOE will establish up to 10 overseas offices and introduce specialized STEM and finance programs to attract students, especially from countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Scholarships and living allowances will be provided, and streamlined residence procedures will facilitate the foreign students’ transition. Taiwan’s reputation for higher education excellence has been steadily growing, with international student numbers reaching approximately 93,000 in 2021 as driven by quality and employment opportunities.
International students are turning to fintech to cut studying abroad costs amid rising inflation. The UK is a top choice for global students, and fintech plays a vital role in offering affordable financial solutions. In 2020-21, international students made up 22 percent of the UK’s student population, favoring London universities. Managing finances is crucial, leading to a surge in international money transfers, especially through platforms like Revolut, which has seen a 91 percent increase in UK users aged 18 to 24 receiving money from abroad and a 99 percent rise in transfer volume. Revolut Lite’s launch further streamlines international transfers, often completing within a day. With estimated transfers to UK young people in September reaching £50 million ($61.7 million), cost-effective financial solutions continue to be in high demand.
The recent economic recession in Germany has cast a shadow over the international student community, with Moroccan students facing a unique set of challenges. Germany’s economy contracted by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2023, leading to reduced job opportunities and higher living costs. International students, who often rely on part-time jobs, find themselves in a precarious situation, juggling tuition fees and daily expenses. Budget cuts for universities and scholarship programs add to the difficulties. However, in the middle of adversity, students are exploring alternative paths via creativity and adaptability.
Lakeland College believes in practical education. With 50+ programs, the Vermilion and Lloydminster campuses offer hands-on learning in modern facilities. Lakeland students are trained to think, learn, and act independently, creating confident, job-ready graduates. Over 91 percent of their programs offer work-integrated learning, jumpstarting students’ careers. Lakeland College provides academic support, counseling, and wellness services for student success.
Students taking Bachelors in Computer Science at University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) can position themselves as future computational experts through UMSL’s Bachelor of Computer Science program, where technology meets opportunity. They can explore a comprehensive curriculum encompassing mathematics, algorithms, and software development while tailoring their path with electives like AI, cybersecurity, and data science. UMSL offers flexible scheduling options, including evening, hybrid, and online courses to fit their life. In this dynamic field, computer scientists shape the world by securing data, powering video games, and connecting people globally. Students can also benefit from UMSL’s renowned faculty, small class sizes, and hands-on projects that prepare them for a thriving job market.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.