Note From the Editor
In America, an Ohio bill seeks to impose bans on academic and financial relationships with Chinese universities, although assuring that Chinese students would still be free to attend Ohio universities without additional barriers.
In Canada, sad news over the looming deportation of over 700 Indian students who had allegedly obtained fake admission offer letters from an agent sheds light on unscrupulous recruitment practices preying on international students and their families.
On a positive note, The Netherlands and Australian state Victoria enjoy modest increases in international student numbers – or at least have set ambitious targets like Japan. Meanwhile, international students in Ukraine and Tunisia grapple with conflict and issues of racial discrimination. These and more key developments this week on MSM Reporter.
In Ohio, Senate Bill 83 or the Ohio Higher Education Enhancement Act is set to have a significant impact on public universities and colleges throughout the state. The GOP higher education bill, introduced in Ohio’s Republican-dominated Senate, seeks to end diversity and inclusion training requirements, impose bans on academic and financial relationships with Chinese universities, and mandate courses on American history. In the provision curtailing ties with Chinese institutions, the bill cited national security concerns, but noted that the ban doesn’t encompass admissions and Chinese students would still be free to attend Ohio colleges and universities without additional barriers. This bill will be heard in the Senate committee over the coming weeks.
The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) has issued deportation notices to over 700 Indian students who had allegedly obtained fake admission offer letters from an agent for sums ranging from Rs 16-20 lakh. About 700 students applied for study visas from 2018 to 2022 through Education Migration Services, Jalandhar headed by one Brijesh Mishra, said to have charged each student for all expenses including admission fees to Humber College. Air tickets and security deposits were not included in the payment to the agent. The students are now facing the daunting prospect of having to challenge the deportation notices in court, a costly process that could take three to four years and exorbitant lawyers’ fees. The said agent is said to be currently uncontactable.
Under a new immigration measure, international graduates whose work permits have expired or are about to expire will be able to extend their work authorization in Canada for an additional 18 months. Eligible holders of postgraduate work permits (PGWPs) will shortly get information on opting in and updating their file via an online portal beginning on April 6. Those whose work permits expire in 2022 or 2023 will still be eligible to reinstate their status and get an interim work authorization while their new work permit application is processed, even if it is later than the 90-day restoration period. Like most countries, Canada faces significant labor and skill shortages in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the recent special measures made to keep current workers in the tight labor market.
A group of international students and advocates have petitioned the United Kingdom prime minister to remove their years-long detention due to allegations of cheating on English proficiency exams. Almost 10 years ago, the students had their visas revoked after a BBC Panorama documentary highlighted charges of cheating at two of the UK’s language testing centers for international students. In response, the government immediately revoked the visas of tens of thousands of students, although MPs later accused the Home Office of presiding over a “shocking miscarriage of justice” in doing so. Migrant Voice, an organization helping the students, claimed that some who stayed to clear their names had been homeless, incurred enormous legal bills, fell ill from stress, or missed the births and deaths of loved ones.
Albeit at a slower rate than in prior years, the number of international students in The Netherlands has climbed during the academic year 2022–23. According to data provided by the student service office Duo, the number of international students enrolling in Dutch universities and institutions of higher vocational education (HBO) increased by 7.3 percent during the current school year. This is a decrease from previous years, though, when the increase amounted to 12 or 15 percent. However, members of parliament in the country called for steps to reduce the number of international students onshore, warning that the country’s severe housing shortage threatens the integrity of the country’s educational system.
Since the international borders reopened in December 2021, the number of student visa holders in the Australian state of Victoria has seen an impressive surge, particularly from China, India, Vietnam, Nepal, and Colombia. This contributed to Melbourne being ranked as the best student city in Australia, and fifth in the world in the QS Best Student City index. International education has become a substantial export earner for Victoria, with related activities now supporting over 40,000 jobs. To further support the international students and make Victoria increasingly appealing, the government has been investing in various initiatives designed to ensure that the state remains an attractive destination for international education.
Just 15% of international students are considering staying in Finland after completing their studies while 45% of them intend to leave, according to a survey by the National Union of University Students in Finland. The lack of job possibilities emerged as the primary reason why international students intended to leave the nation after graduating. International students also mulled leaving the country due to the high cost of living and the difficulty of speaking Finnish. According to the Finnish Immigration Service, the number of international students in Finland jumped 54 percent in 2022; by the end of October that year, 7,060 applicants from outside the European Union were granted first-time residence permits compared to 4,595 applicants in 2021.
The increased funding for international students in Western Australia is still not enough to offset the rental crisis, cautions a recent report. Curtin University international student committee president Bhaarath Kathiravan dubbed the subsidy insufficient to help international students with their rental costs. This development came as new data highlighted the ongoing rental crisis in Western Australia, with the number of relatively cheap rental listings almost halving over time. The housing crisis also forced more people into homelessness and extreme measures to put a roof over their heads, all while thousands of properties are being held off the market by short-stay rentals such as Airbnb.
In the 2021-22 academic year, the majority of international students in the UK were from China (151,690), India (126,535) and Nigeria (44,195). Similarly, in 2020-21, 53.5 percent of international academic staff were from the EU. In 2022, however, the UK government took a strong stance against international students and scientists from China, banning 1,104 from studying and working in UK institutions – a sharp increase from 2016 when only 13 applications were rejected. The ban is seen to cause significant delays in research projects and efforts to recruit staff, with long-term implications on the country’s higher education system and international relations.
Foreign medical students who had to flee Ukraine last year due to Russia’s invasion have been getting emails and texts urging them to go back for their final test there. Amara, a Nigerian medical student who had spent five and a half years studying in Ukraine before the conflict started, expressed shock and surprise at the request and voiced concerns over their safety, saying it was impossible for the government or ministry to ask them to go back to a conflict area. The KROK2 licensing exam would allow the students to practice medicine in Ukraine, but Amara and the other students expressed no desire to work there and intended to choose a different route.
In an effort to reach its target of 400,000 foreign students studying in Japan and 500,000 Japanese studying abroad by 2033, the Japanese government has implemented measures to support foreign students to encourage them to remain in the country after graduation. The number of international students in Japan notably decreased during the pandemic, which the government aims to raise back above the 300,000 mark by 2027. These efforts to increase the number of foreign students have been accompanied by internship programs, a potential draw for foreign students looking to gain experience and stay in Japan after graduating. As far as Japanese students are concerned, the government will increase the number of mid- to long-term overseas study programs.
Sub-Saharan African students studying in Tunisia are calling on the government to take action against a spate of racist attacks and comments by President Kais Saied about illegal migrants. The organization that represents these students reported 400 arrests and 100 emergency repatriations to African countries, with more than 40 to 50 students remaining in detention in police stations during the last two or three weeks but most of which have already been released. The Ministry of Higher Education promised to take swift action to address the grievances, including those on residence conditions and permits for international students. International student numbers in Tunisia, mostly from other African countries, grew to 9,000 in 2022, a five-fold increase since 2011.
Brescia University is a premier all-women’s university that provides students with extraordinary educational opportunities. From generous scholarship programs and dynamic student experiences to access to courses across four campuses, Brescia is committed to creating an enriching atmosphere for its students. Brescia is also proud of its graduates, who are more likely to volunteer, complete a graduate degree, and be involved in academic clubs and extracurricular activities, all of which contribute to feeling more prepared for life after school. Furthermore, the university offers free individual counseling to ensure all students feel safe and supported in their academic endeavors.
The double degree in Aviation Management offered jointly by Transport and Telecommunication Institute (TTI) and University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol provides students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the aviation industry. Combining theoretical and practical elements, the three-year program covers business, management, and aviation-related subjects culminating in two degrees: BBA in Aviation Transport & Logistics from TTI and BSc in International Transport & Logistics Management from UWE Bristol. Students spend two years studying at TTI in Latvia and the third year at UWE Bristol in the UK. On completion, students are well-equipped for a range of aviation-related careers.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.