OPT keeps Indian students in the US, hardship funds expanded in the UK, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

OPT keeps Indian students in the US, hardship funds expanded in the UK, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

Note From the Editor


The United States’ Optional Practical Training (OPT) program remains a compelling reason for many Indian students to stay in the country. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, expands its hardship funding for international students struggling with rising costs of living. Canada’s foreign home buyer ban exemption for international students may be found wanting, while Australia’s visa delays and New Zealand’s expensive flight costs are brought to the fore on this week’s issue of MSM Reporter.


Indian students in US choosing to stay back for work training: Report

A vast majority of Indian students studying in the United States choose to remain in the country to participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT) – a program that allows international graduate students who hold an F-1 or student visa to join in paid or voluntary work for up to three years, a report from the US State Department and the Institute of International Education (IIE) has noted. Among the nearly 200,000 students currently enrolled in US higher education, more than 30% are participating in OPT programs. OPT is a very popular option for students outside of the US to gain practical training experience while pursuing studies or after graduating. For certain science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) disciplines, the OPT can also be extended to three years.

Deccan Herald

Calgary man on work permit says he feels ‘forgotten’ by foreign homebuyer ban, calls exemptions too limiting

International students on temporary work permits and refugee claimants are exempt from the federal government’s current foreign home buyer ban in Canada. Under the foreign home buyer regulations, work permit-holders must have worked full-time and filed income tax returns for at least three of the last four years. However, given that working hours for international students had previously been restricted to 20 hours a week, other students and work permit holders are finding the guidelines too restrictive. In order for international students to qualify for an exemption, they must have filed income tax returns for five years before a purchase is made and be physically in Canada for at least 244 days in each of those years, while the purchase price for a property also can’t exceed $500,000.

CTV News

UK to provide £15 million hardship funding for struggling international students

An additional allocation of £15 million in hardship funding for international students who are experiencing financial difficulties has been announced by the United Kingdom government. This will build upon the existing £261 million student premium fund that was allotted for this academic year to assist students from low-income families and those who are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living. The additional funding, said Robert Halfon, minister for skills, apprenticeships, and higher education, will supplement the assistance that universities are offering through their bursary, scholarship, and hardship support schemes.


Irish immigration policy ‘a disincentive for highly skilled people’

When it comes to family members, the immigration policy of Ireland is a disincentive to researchers who want to study in the country, warns Irish Immigrant Council chief executive Brian Killoran. Believing that Ireland is losing out on highly skilled people, the chief executive made the statement following the report on a PhD student who was forced to withdraw from her fully funded doctoral research degree studies after she was asked to present over US$113,000 in funds to obtain family visas or experience leaving her young daughter and husband in Nigeria for four years.

Irish Examiner

Iranian PhD students remain in limbo due to Australian visa delays despite securing scholarships

Experts worry over visa delays in Australia, saying these could risk a decline in research standards in the country and prompt students to study elsewhere. According to a report, those studying in Iran as well as other countries such as China, India, and Pakistan have long experienced lengthy security and clearance checks during visa applications, sometimes with wait times exceeding three years. After six months in limbo, some international students planning to research in Iran after graduation are considering withdrawing their visas and applying to another college or university.

The Guardian

Charter flights for international students mooted by universities

International students are expected to return to New Zealand for a full year of study this year, the first time since the COVID pandemic. One challenge to getting into the country is the expensive cost of flights. According to Chris Whelan, Universities New Zealand chief executive, they are looking at ways to help students who have failed to find a way to get to NZ, including possibly chartering more seats on airlines. Data from Immigration New Zealand revealed that visas, on average, can take a few weeks of processing time and in some cases may take more than a month. The same data highlighted, too, how the closed borders of the island country adversely affected international education, which before the pandemic was the fifth largest contributor to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP), injecting close to $5 billion into the economy.


US plans quicker visas for foreign students. Here’s how

More foreign students who aspire to study in the US may experience more efficient visa processing as the Biden administration announces plans to expand the premium processing of visa and green card categories. The expansion of categories will be implemented in phases beginning with the premium processing of EB-1 and EB-2 green card applications. Meanwhile, the expansion of premium processing to F-1 students seeking OPT and STEM OPT extensions filing an initial form I-765 will start in April.


Putting every ounce of its energy to eliminate visa wait in India: Official

A “cadre of consular officers” are being sent and mobilized in India and other countries to expedite the processing of visas of Indian nationals. Apart from the embassy and consulate in India, consular officers and visa processing for Indian nationals in Thailand and Germany are also tasked to double existing efforts. According to US deputy assistant secretary for visa services Julie Stufft, the US has actually already made progress in certain visa types: H-1B and L1 visas, for example, have been greatly sped up from an 18-month lead time down to about 60 days. India broke the record for most student visas in 2022, possibly repeating the feat in 2023. It is now number two in the world in terms of international students coming to the US.

Business Standard

International students cry foul over Korean universities’ tuition hikes

International students in Korean universities are crying foul over recent tuition hikes. The increase in tuition fees, they said, is an offshoot of the tuition freeze imposed by Korea’s Higher Education Act on domestic students, which states that fees for domestic students cannot be more than 1.5 times the average increase. Universities that raise the tuition for domestic studies face disadvantages when applying for support from the Ministry of Education or other government institutions. Graduate students, both domestic and international, also face increasing school fees.

The Korea Times

Morocco’s Casablanca is world’s third cheapest city for international education

Casablanca has emerged as the third most affordable city for international education in 2022, with an average cost of $4,067 per year – 14.1% lower compared to last year, according to a research by the International School Database. The fees for international schools in Casablanca range from $1,570 to $11,734. In the report, Casablanca also ranked as the second cheapest city in Africa, while the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, is the most expensive city on the continent when it comes to international schooling. The report also noted that African cities continue to offer the lowest cost of international education compared to other regions.

Morocco World News

Foreigners make up 11% of students at Jordanian education institutions

Around 41,860 international students from 109 Arab and other countries are currently enrolled in educational institutions in Jordan and thus comprise 11% of the total student population, according to Muhannad Al-Khatib, director of the Unified Admission Coordination Unit and spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. About 11,315 of these international students are enrolled in universities for the 2022-23 academic year. Some countries have limited student admission to some Jordanian institutions due to a drop in international ranking at some universities, the minister said, adding that the Higher Education Institutions Accreditation Commission has set standards for general accreditation and other criteria for special accreditation for each program in order to ensure quality.

Jordan News

Turkmenistan ready to broaden academic, technological ties with Iran

Turkmenistan’s Ambassador to Iran Ahmad Kakabayevich Gurbanov has expressed the country’s desire to increase relations with Iran, particularly in the fields of academics and technology. He stated that Turkmenistan is interested in sending students to study in Iran and that an intergovernmental commission has been established to enhance relations between the two countries. Iran is among the 15 successful countries in attracting international students, according to Mohammad Javad Salmanpour, deputy head of the Organization for Student Affairs, proclaiming the country’s ability and capacity to accommodate more than 250,000 foreign students by 2026. Almost 100,000 foreign nationals are currently studying in Iran, more than 90% of whom are from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tehran Times

Special Feature: IRCC considering Express Entry draws based on occupations, and other categories

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently conducted public and stakeholder consultations to revamp the Express Entry system by creating new categories that will focus on factors such as educational qualifications, work experience, and language proficiency, rather than just a high score within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The recent consultations were based on a similar approach used for creating the annual Immigration Levels Plan, which sets yearly immigration targets for Canada over three years. The results of the consultations have not yet been released as the process ended on January 8, 2023.

CIC News

Featured Institution - University of Northern British Columbia

The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), founded in 1990, is a public research university located in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, that has grown to serve over 4,500 students from around the world. UNBC – offering undergraduate and graduate programs in a wide range of disciplines including arts, science, business, education, nursing, and engineering – is known for its small class sizes, personalized instruction, and hands-on learning opportunities.  It also has a strong focus on research and innovation, with particular emphasis on issues related to northern and rural communities.

University of Northern British Columbia

Featured Program - Master of Science in Big Data Analytics

MS in Big Data Analytics provides intensive training in computational techniques and equips students with the skills to analyze data, interpret and present it effectively, and apply it to real-world scenarios. The program focuses on developing students’ ability to critically evaluate data, apply analytical tools and techniques, perform data mining and auditing, and develop a strong understanding of statistical methods, machine learning, and data visualization.

Bay Atlantic University

International Education Conferences & Workshops



MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.


We will be happy to send the MSM reporter to your inbox every Thursday. Please enter below details to confirm your subscription.

Get in Touch

Get In Touch

Get In Touch

This website uses cookies to assist to personalize content, analyze our traffic, and to assist with our promotional and marketing campaigns. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising, and analytics team who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. For more information about your cookies and how to change your settings, refer to our Privacy Policy.​



We will be happy to send the MSM reporter to your inbox every Thursday. Please enter below details to confirm your subscription.

Yes, I would like to receive the Top 12 trending news from the international education industry.