UK unis invest big in agent fees, Indians drive fastest US intl student growth, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

UK unis invest big in agent fees, Indians drive fastest US intl student growth, and more in this week’s MSM Reporter

Note From the Editor


In the spotlight once again: the role of education agents in international student recruitment, where figures obtained by the Observer showed UK universities investing heavily in agent fees to attract international students. 


Over in the US, the recent Open Doors 2023 Report confirms a record 35% climb in Indian international students in the country from the previous year, helping drive the fastest international student enrollment growth in over 40 years. US community colleges, too, are experiencing an upswing in foreign student numbers. The India-Canada standoff appears to fail to get in the way of student visas – or so it seems, as some segments start to explore alternative study destination options. 


Head over to for more international education news, insights, and thought leadership this week, or stay up-to-date on intl ed news in the US and intl ed updates in the UK.


UK universities paying millions in agent fees to secure international students

UK universities are investing heavily in agent fees to attract international students, with one institution spending £28 million (approx. US$35 million) on agent fees in the past year, based on figures obtained by the Observer. This comes as just under 500,000 sponsored UK study visas were granted in the past year – 23% more than the year before and double the number in 2019 – and a fifth of income received by UK universities now comes from international students. Higher tuition paid by international students, estimated at £22,000 (US$27,557.45) per year for undergraduates, further incentivize universities to pay substantial referral fees to agents, ranging from £2,000 to £8,000 (US$2,505.31 to US$10,021.25) per student. Concerns about ethical practices and the need for agent regulation persist, despite universities emphasizing rigorous measures they implement. International students continue to play a vital role in the UK economy, contributing an estimated £42 billion (US$52.61 billion) in 2021-22.

The Guardian

Indians propel US to fastest international student growth in 40 years

India has significantly contributed to the United States’ international student community, sending a record 268,923 students in the 2022-23 academic year. This surge, a 35% increase from the previous year, helped drive the fastest US international student enrollment growth in over 40 years, as detailed in the 2023 Open Doors Report. While China remains the top-sending country despite a slight decrease, data reflecting India’s remarkable influx highlight its growing role in global education trends, as partly driven by the quality of education in STEM fields; promising career prospects in areas such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, and engineering; and financial aid and scholarships amid rising tuition costs.

MSM Reporter

India-Canada standoff fails to get in the way of student visas

Amid diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, student visa processes remain surprisingly efficient. Despite Canada’s withdrawal of diplomats and suspension of consular services in several Indian cities, over 90% of student visa applications continue to be approved, where some visas are issued within 11 to 13 days, including for candidates with lower language proficiency scores. Yet in anticipation of delayed student visas and the potential imposition of caps on Indian student numbers in Canada, a number of applicants have been prompted to consider alternative study options, including Australia, UK, and US. As immigration consultant Manpreet Kaur put it, Indian students in Canada also grapple with issues related to housing and high inflation.

Indian Express / India Blooms

Debates on international student cap persist amid housing crisis

A “housing crisis” persists in Australia amid a record influx of 725,000 international students. High-profile figures, including economist Chris Richardson who pointed to years of mismanagement as one reason for the crisis, propose capping these numbers to alleviate housing pressures. However, experts on the other side contend that this is a superficial solution, arguing that only 3% to 4% more students are in Australia compared to 2019, and that many reside in specialized student housing. Capping students is seen by some sectors as using international students as scapegoats for a broader issue, potentially harming the education industry without addressing the crisis’s root causes.

ABC / Financial Review

International enrollments increase at community colleges

US community colleges have witnessed an upswing in international student numbers, reporting a 7.2% increase in international student enrollments for the 2022-23 academic year. This is the first upsurge since 2016-17, per the Institute of International Education (IIE). This revival, highlighted in the Open Doors report this year, reflects a broader 12% rise in international students across the US higher education sector, with notable growth in graduate programs and non-degree courses. China has remained the leading source of international students in community colleges since 2013, trailed by Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. The report also highlights initiatives like study abroad programs and scholarships.

Community College Daily

Education New Zealand launches campaign to attract international students

Education New Zealand has introduced its global campaign, “Learn New Every Day,” aiming to revitalize New Zealand’s position as a prime destination for international students. The initiative focuses on promoting the nation’s high-quality education and future employability prospects as the country aims to rebound from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring diverse scenes from New Zealand’s educational and cultural landscape, the campaign targets students and parents globally, emphasizing the unique experiences and opportunities available in the country. This strategic move appears to align with recent policy pledges by the New Zealand National Party to enhance international students’ post-study work rights and streamline visa processes.

MSM Reporter

International students, advocates say Canada should permanently lift 20-hour work cap

The temporary removal of the 20-hour work cap for international students in Canada, implemented last year, has garnered widespread support for becoming a permanent policy. Advocates highlight the financial stability and reduced debt burden it offers amid rising living costs. In the middle of government evaluation (the federal immigration department said it is in the process of assessing the policy), advocacy groups emphasize the policy’s positive impact on their financial well-being and call for its continuation. Since international students are not given any federal or provincial loans or grants or housing vouchers, they experience disproportionate effects for rising cost of living and housing affordability, according to these groups.


Laid-off H-1B visa holders from US find opportunities in Canada

Following significant layoffs in the US tech industry, affecting major firms like Amazon and Google, over 6,000 H-1B visa holders have seized the opportunity to relocate to Canada through a special work permit program. This initiative, now closed for applications, was part of Canada’s broader Tech Talent Strategy to bolster its growing technology sector. The scheme offered a lifeline to these professionals, facing a 60-day deadline to find new employment or leave the US. Canada’s tech growth, particularly in cities like Vancouver, aligns with the influx of skilled talent from the US.

MSM Reporter

Mohali: 12 duped of ₹2.4 cr with study visa promise, 2 booked

In India, Mohali immigration consultants Sarabjit Singh Sandhu and Ravinderpal Singh Deol face new fraud charges. Already in custody for a previous case, the duo is now accused of swindling ₹2.41 crore (US$ 289,209.88) from 12 people under the guise of providing Canadian and Australian study visas. Operating from a basement office in their residence, the consultants allegedly lured clients who lost ₹30 lakh (US$ 36,000.63) to their scam. The recent arrests highlight a growing concern over immigration fraud in the region.

Hindustan Times

Studying abroad increasingly trendy, but no cakewalk

The rising trend of Vietnamese families sending their children to study overseas leads to a window of the harsh realities of financial strain and academic challenges. With a significant increase in Vietnamese students seeking education overseas, families are confronting hefty costs, often exceeding Vietnam’s average per capita income. Stories of students like Kim Chi in Australia and Hoang Dang Vu in Japan highlight the struggles of balancing work and study, underscoring the need for careful planning and realistic expectations in the pursuit of international education.

VN Express

Filipinos studying overseas seen increasing by about 10% yearly

Amid a surge in interest for overseas education, the Philippines anticipates a yearly 8% to 10% rise in the number of its students pursuing studies abroad, according to IDP Philippines. This growth is driven by aspirations for better job prospects and higher education standards overseas, with Canada, Australia, and the UK being top destinations. IDP dubbed the Philippines as a “migration-driven market,” where prospective international students study overseas to work and eventually migrate. The most chosen fields of study are business-related courses, health services, and hospitality, alongside a growing interest in engineering and information technology-related courses.


Study-abroad programs hurt by weaker yen, soaring prices

Kyoto Tachibana University and other Japanese institutions are experiencing a significant decline in study-abroad applicants due to the weaker yen and escalating expenses. The cost of studying in Western countries has surged, prompting students to opt for more affordable destinations like Malaysia. Kyoto Tachibana University has expanded its partner universities in Asia to accommodate this shift. The situation reflects a broader trend in Japanese universities, with many adjusting their international programs in response to economic pressures.

Asahi Shimbun

Featured Institution - Shoreline Community College

Established in 1964, Shoreline Community College honors its location on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, particularly the Duwamish Tribe. With over 100 academic and professional degrees and certificates, it addresses the diverse, lifelong learning needs of over 8,000 students from the US and beyond 50 countries. Nestled 10 miles north of Seattle, its campus is renowned for its remarkable beauty. Governance is provided by a five-member Board of Trustees, appointed by the Governor of Washington. Shoreline maintains rigorous standards, upheld by accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Shoreline Community College

Featured Program - Archaeology Diploma

The new Archaeology Diploma offers a unique opportunity for those seeking a career in archaeology and related fields. Spearheaded by the natural resources sector’s need for archaeological expertise, this program promises exciting local employment prospects, particularly in survey and excavation, artifact processing, and report preparation. Its relevance to First Nations communities is underscored by its focus on uncovering artifacts with Indigenous historical significance. Successful graduates can leverage the Applied Studies credential for entry-level roles or pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology through a university transfer route, aiming for upper-level positions. The program’s practical approach, blending fieldwork and academic advancement, fills a gap identified by experienced archaeologists.

Northern Lights College

International Education Conferences & Workshops



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