Note From the Editor
As international education gradually returns to a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy, new foreign students across the globe are facing a unique set of challenges. These include rising visa application fees, an increase in on-campus violence, housing concerns, exploitation, and incidents of racism. Discover more about these issues and other relevant stories in this week’s edition of the MSM Reporter.
The US Department of State has declared a hike in visa application processing fees for non-immigrant visitors, students, and other categories which is set to commence in May 2023. Additionally, USCIS has publicized the streamlining of online form processing and premium processing for specific F-1 students. In an earlier announcement, it was disclosed that students can now apply for F and M student visas up to a year in advance, a significant shift from the previous rule of submitting visa applications 120 days before commencing studies at a US institution.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada department recently uncovered that up to 700 Indian international students arrived in the country with fraudulent admission letters from post-secondary institutions. The discovery was made several years after some of the students graduated and had applied for work permits or permanent residence. Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser attributed the issue to “bad actors, particularly from other parts of the world, who are difficult to police from Canada, who seek to take advantage of international students.”
PIO entrepreneur Sukhpal Ahluwalia has warned UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that recent changes to visa policies for student dependents could be harmful to British businesses. Ahluwalia argued that limiting visas for dependents and only allowing those of postgraduate and Ph.D. students would reduce the talent pool available to UK companies, thereby limiting their growth potential. Ahluwalia also expressed concern that these policies would send a negative message to the rest of the world, suggesting that the UK is closed for business and unwelcoming to skilled immigrants.
A new report by the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) has highlighted the pervasive issue of racism faced by international students in Ireland. The report reveals that almost two-thirds of international students surveyed reported experiencing or witnessing racism in the country. Verbal abuse was the most common form, followed by ‘indirect’ racism in the workplace. Also, 12% of respondents witnessed physical racism, including physical assaults, object throwing, and being spat at, while 4% indicated experiencing or witnessing online hate speech.
The rental market, particularly in Sydney, has been significantly impacted by the return of foreign students to Australia in January. The city’s rental vacancy rate has significantly decreased, which has caused a significant rise in unit rents. According to sources, Sydney’s rental vacancy rate is at its lowest point in over a decade, driving up rentals by as much as 35%. International students’ return, meanwhile, has not been without issues. The Tenants Union has expressed worry about some students’ housing arrangements, alleging that they have been coerced into unsavory and illegal living arrangements.
International students and universities in the US are concerned about the risk of violence on campus. After numerous shootings on campuses across the country, including at Michigan State University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech, international students and their parents have become more concerned about safety when considering the US as a destination for their education. Beau Benson, a recruiter for Northeastern University in Boston, said he had been asked questions about safety from worried parents. Some international students have expressed fear that the high number of guns in the US makes them a target for violence.
To attract more foreign students, especially those from Nigeria, Universities Canada has requested additional investment in research funding, graduate scholarships, and mental health care. The group believes that by investing in these areas, Canadian universities would be able to provide better financial and mental health support for international students while they are enrolled in classes. International students in Canada have experienced significant financial and mental health disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Nigerian students in particular suffering.
By drawing on the experiences of the more than 48,000 foreign students who currently study in India, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) hopes to strengthen India’s artistic and creative presence on the international stage. These students will represent India’s heritage, tourism, textiles, yoga, ayurveda, and craft as brand ambassadors. Exit Engagement Evenings (E-3) with international students will be held by the ICCR three to four months before the end of their study as a means of facilitating this. These activities will involve collaborations with the Khadi Commission, the Indian Tourist Development Corporation, and the Department of AYUSH as well as trips to national landmarks.
To keep pace with the rising cost of living, Canada’s federal minimum wage will increase by $1.10 as of right now. To support workers and grow the economy, the government aims to ensure that wages rise in step with inflation, according to Seamus O’Regan Jr., the Minister of Labor. A press release from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) states that the federal minimum wage will increase to $16.65 per hour as of April 1, 2023. The Consumer Price Index increased by 6.8% in 2022, which prompted this increase. To enable everyone to benefit from economic growth, the ESDC works to uphold workers’ rights and promote fair pay.
Police in India arrested an education agent in connection to hundreds of Indian students in Canada receiving deportation notices for fake admission letters. The agent charged between 15-20 lakhs from the students for fake admissions into prominent institutions. The police have canceled the company’s license and are investigating the matter, while the Canadian Border Services Agency has served the deportation notices and is looking into the fraudulent activities.
The record arrival of over one million immigrants and non-permanent residents, mostly international students, to Canada last year has increased demand for rental housing, yet the growth in rental supply has been insufficient. This has resulted in large rent increases across the country, making it more difficult for low-income households, including college and university students, to find affordable accommodation near the campus. The influx of international students has exacerbated the rental housing shortage, making it even more difficult to find housing options in small university towns.
The Japanese government has proposed a plan to increase the acceptance and dispatch of students in the country over the next 10 years, aiming to attract 400,000 foreign students and send 500,000 Japanese students abroad annually. The plan has drawn attention due to previous government efforts to reach similar milestones and the current pandemic situation. Experts are concerned about language and cultural barriers, but Japan’s human resource challenges are already improving due to economic needs. Japan has attempted to attract more international students twice in the past and achieved its goals in 2019.
Coe College, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a private liberal arts college that dates back to its founding in 1851 by Rev. Williston Jones as the School of Prophets. It was later re-established in 1875 as the Coe College Institute and finally became known as Coe College in 1881, following a private donation from T.M. Sinclair. The college offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Nursing programs, with over 60 areas of study available. Students are given the option to create their major under the guidance of faculty members. Coe is committed to enhancing its value among current and prospective students by providing top-notch education, career planning and preparation, taking advantage of its location, and pursuing ongoing campus improvements.
The BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy at UWE Bristol is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, enabling graduates to apply for registration as a physiotherapist. The course combines theoretical and practical learning, with placements in the NHS and independent sectors. A £5,000 per year training grant is available for home students. Career opportunities are available in the NHS, the independent sector, private practice, sports and leisure centers, as well as private and voluntary sectors.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.