Note From the Editor
Aspiring international students in the US can now apply for a visa up to a year before the start of their classes as the Biden administration commits to addressing visa scheduling and issuance delays.
The Canadian government’s one-year pilot program to temporarily remove the 20-hour work cap on international students is gaining traction but has some segments worried over its sustainability, while plans may be underway for the UK to impose limits on international students’ ability to bring immediate family members unless they study “high-value” degrees.
This week’s MSM Reporter coverage offers these and more, offering updates on international education policy and the student experience in France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
The Biden administration has recently announced that prospective international students who are planning to pursue education in the United States can now apply for a visa up to a year before the start of their classes. However, international students will not be allowed to enter the country on a student visa more than 30 days before the start of their program. According to Julie Stufft, deputy assistant secretary for visa services, the department is focusing all its efforts on fast-tracking visa renewals, eliminating India’s long visa wait time. India broke the record for most student visas in 2022 and is on track to repeating the feat, now standing at number two in the world in terms of international students coming to the US.
The Canadian government’s one-year pilot program to temporarily remove the 20-hour work cap on international students is gaining traction, yet concerns still arise. This program has been widely welcomed by international students but has industry experts expressing worry: It may be a potential solution to the country’s labor shortage, yet its long-term effectiveness remains to be seen. Along with the removal of the work cap, there are other regulations that must be followed in order to be eligible for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP), such as maintaining a full course load while working off-campus. Vacant jobs have increased by 143.13 percent from 2015 to 2022.
Plans may be underway for the UK to impose limits on international students’ ability to bring immediate family members unless they study “high-value” degrees. According to the report, only international students taking science, mathematics, and engineering will be able to bring their dependents, like spouses and children, to the country. The proposal came after Britain registered a near-eightfold rise in the number of family members joining international students, with India as the largest source with 161,000 students bringing 33,240 dependents with them to the UK last year.
Ninety percent of international students speak highly of France when it comes to getting a university degree, according to a study conducted by Campus France in partnership with the Kantar Public Institute. In addition, 88 percent of the respondents shared that living in France has driven them to work at French companies, while 88 percent said that staying in the country had influenced their desire to return for tourism. Moreover, statistics indicated that international students in France contribute €5 billion per year to the French economy through their expenses.
The Australian government has increased the number of permanent migration visas available in 2022-23 to help the country’s population and economic growth. However, there is still no clear way for international students to get permanent residency despite being an “untapped potential” in the country. Last year, Education Minister Jason Clare shared his hopes to see more international students stay in Australia longer and become permanent residents. As part of the government’s plan to create clearer pathways to permanent residency, the government has asked for a review of the country’s migration system. Only 16 percent of international students go on to become permanent residents in Australia, while in Canada the figure stands at 27 percent.
Government data has revealed that the unemployment rate in New Zealand to be as low as 3.4 percent, on top of the country offering post-study work rights of up to three years. With an outstanding educational system, credentials that are internationally respected, an array of research opportunities, as well as an unmatched quality of life, this country has so much to offer to international students. When they study in New Zealand, students from around the world can depend on a welcoming committee and support system, enabling them to collaborate with different people at work, develop, and invent.
Data from the UK’s immigration website shows that the government provided student visas to more than 59,000 Nigerians in 2022, an eightfold increase in four years. The number rose by 768.7% compared to 6,798 Nigerians granted student visas in 2019. Nigeria is considered the leading hunting ground for the UK government due to its high intellectual abilities, cheap labor, large working population, high diaspora remittances, and Brexit. The country was also recorded to have the highest number in terms of dependents, with approximately 60,923 in sponsored visas in 2022 or an increase from 1,586 four years ago.
The Swedish government seeks to simplify the application procedures for a residence permit for international students and scholars coming from visa-free countries, so the latter will no longer be obliged to travel to a Swedish embassy to present their original passport. The current regulations in the country require visa-exempted individuals who are applying for a temporary residency permit to go to a Swedish embassy or consulate for their identification check. However, according to Mats Persson, the Swedish education minister, the current process is causing difficulties for both international students and researchers needing to travel just for the verification of their identity. The migration agency is tasked to resolve the issue faster.
Over six million students studied overseas in 2019, and part of the conversation are the requirements and regulations around working while being an international student. While some countries are not allowing international students while they are studying, the length of time and job types they are allowed to have may vary. In most circumstances, a work permit is required, and some countries require that the students have already secured a job offer prior to their application for a work permit. Finland allows international students to work up to 30 hours per week, the UK up to 20 hours per week during the semester (but need to obtain a work permit and hold a Tier 4 student visa), Germany 120 days for full-time work or 240 half days for part-time without a work permit, and the US up to 20 hours a week (but need to be enrolled full-time and have valid F-1 status).
Largely overlooked: This is how the plight of international students from developing countries who were studying in Ukraine before the war broke out and had to flee the country can be described. Besides being denied the same benefits and rights that exiled Ukrainians receive, the students have been excluded from UK scholarships. This has created an even greater sense of uncertainty and hardship, as the UK’s General Medical Council has stopped accepting medical qualifications from the Dnipro school and has left them with no recognition for their hard work and studies. With limited financial support and few options for returning to their home countries, these students are desperately seeking a way to continue their studies without having to start all over again.
Switzerland’s prestigious federal institutes of technology ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne have mulled over restrictions on foreign students, such as a numerus clausus – a limit on the number of admissions of foreign students – and higher tuition due to the increasing number of students in the country, with around 50% coming from abroad. The Association of Swiss Student Unions has expressed its opposition to any such potential restrictions, emphasizing that foreign students should be given the same access as Swiss students. They also argued that higher tuition fees would create an unjust financial burden on foreign students and lead to a decrease in diversity across universities. The ETH Board is continuing to assess the proposal and is expected to make an announcement in the coming weeks.
In an effort to attract more highly skilled foreign workers, the Japanese government has recently announced new visa pathways – set to begin in April – intended to make it easier for highly skilled professionals to obtain working visas and extend their stay. This is sought to address the country’s aging population and declining workforce, particularly in industries such as healthcare and technology. Japan faces a number of challenges in competing with other countries for highly skilled workers, such as the competitiveness of its wages and job opportunities compared to offerings from other countries. Some experts suggest a focus on attracting foreign workers from Asian countries rather than the West due to the similar cultural values and the willingness to learn the language and adapt to the culture.
Nipissing University is an undergraduate university known for its excellence in teacher education, arts, science, and professional programs, as well as its four distinct nursing programs. The university is committed to making a positive impact and playing a constructive role in the educational, social, cultural, and economic development of the communities it serves. It was granted its charter as an independent university 1992 and established with the aim of addressing the particular needs of Northern Ontario. Its strategic focus on student success and experience has resulted in the university consistently ranking among the highest in the nation in terms of student support, student experience, faculty, and residences as a primarily undergraduate institution.
Greensboro College offers a Bachelor of Science in Data Science program that provides students with courses in statistics, programming, data analysis, machine learning, and database management. The program has a low student-to-faculty ratio, which enables students to work closely with experienced professors who can provide personalized guidance and support. Students can access professional internships that allow them to gain hands-on experience in the industry, providing them with an edge in the job market. After graduation, they can pursue a range of career paths such as data scientist, machine learning engineering, and enterprise architecture.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.