Note From the Editor
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the intent to prioritize study visas for international students and emphasized, during his speech at NAFSA 2023, the government’s effort to expand international education in the country.
In Canada, the government introduced new measures to bolster family reunification and support for international students and their dependents. Under the new rules, temporary resident visas for spouses will be processed faster, new processing tools will be implemented, and spouses and children will have access to a work permit.
All these and more key developments from Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Netherlands and Iran in this week’s edition of MSM Reporter.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the significance of streamlining and prioritizing study visas for international students, as well as creating inclusive and accessible study abroad opportunities. According to Blinken, the Biden administration is actively pursuing the expansion of international education and the support of study abroad programs. To help with this, the department has taken measures to expedite the application process for visas, such as giving priority to student visas and waiving interviews for some students. Additionally, visa applications can now be submitted up to a whole year in advance.
In contrast to the UK’s recent decision to ban family members of international students from following them to the country, Canada has established additional measures to enable family reunification and support for international students and their families. Temporary resident visas for spouses will be processed more quickly, new processing tools will be implemented, and spouses and their dependent children will have access to a work permit under the new measures outlined by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. In addition, a streamlined procedure is available to renew valid work permits for an additional 18 months for those whose expiration dates fall between August 1 and the end of this year.
Following the recent restrictions on international students and bringing their family members to the United Kingdom, the government reportedly plans to reduce the number of international students enrolled in the country. Concerns over prospective hikes in tuition costs for British students apparently led to a watering down of plans to reduce the number of international students. The Department for Education opposed the Home Secretary’s desire for significant reduction on the grounds that international students subsidize domestic tuition. As part of the restrictions, only postgraduate research students will be permitted to bring their dependents to the UK beginning next year.
The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service has admitted that it is unable to process a high volume of asylum applications within the legal timeframe. This is due to an increase in applications from highly skilled and labor migrants, as well as international students. The IND has said that it needs more time and careful attention to handle the increasingly detailed decisions that are required. In its second Performance Update, the IND outlined the challenges it faces in fulfilling its societal role. The IND emphasized the need for a new approach to migration policy. According to Rhodia Maas, IND general director, the organization has historically received more applications than it can handle. This has led to longer processing times and prolonged uncertainty for applicants.
The federal government loosened limitations on international students in January 2022 due to a labor shortage, enabling them to work longer hours than originally permitted. The cap, however, will be reinstated by the government the following month. Reintroducing the cap, according to supporters of international students, will strain a group that is already struggling. The cap exposes international students to employment exploitation, where firms pay low wages and justify it by working under the table, claims Asha Ramzan, executive officer at Sydney Community Forum. Due to loan repayments, many students are afraid to question the government’s actions and are limited in their ability to protest.
Palmerston North residents are invited to accept homestay students who are returning to the city following the relaxation of Covid-19 border restrictions. With returning international students to all Palmerston North universities, there is a significant demand for homestays. Hosting a homestay provides a cultural experience and the chance to study another culture from the viewpoint of a student. It is encouraged for students to cook meals from their native countries for their hosts. The hosts can also impart their expertise about Palmerston North and New Zealand. There is a countrywide shortage of homestay hosts, and foreign educational institutions are interested in sending student groups there for brief periods.
Costa Rica’s foreign trade promoter, Procomer, joined forces with universities and the Consorcio Global Edu to present Costa Rican education proposals during the NAFSA 2023 trade show in Washington, D.C. The delegation’s objectives include identifying international market demands, establishing connections with institutions, fostering networking in the education sector, and identifying trends in student mobility.
International students, mostly from India, have been unsuccessful in their attempts to recoup millions of dollars in tuition money. The students paid as much as $15,000 each to study at three non-subsidized, private colleges in Canada that were all run under the name Rising Phoenix International. In January 2022, the colleges abruptly shut down, and the business requested creditor protection. Despite the universities being sold to a new owner, there wasn’t enough money to reimburse the students. In April, the court denied the request for the power to sue the province’s Ministry of Higher Education and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. In the ruling, despite the court’s sympathy for the students, it states that it has no jurisdiction under the restructuring proceedings to grant the request. Instead, the judge advised pursuing civil actions.
The Higher Education minister has asked universities in England to prioritize mental health by 2024 or face a potential legal requirement as a condition of university status. The petition, started by families of students who took their own lives, calls for a legal duty of care for students, and over 100,000 people have signed it. The government and the higher education sector say more legislation is not necessary. The minister has set up a taskforce to propose targets and a plan for better identifying students at risk, and a national review of student deaths will be conducted.
Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill is examining the large international education sector in Australia and its intersectionality with tourism in the country. She is exploring ways to regulate unscrupulous agents while also looking into how to maintain healthy student numbers without compromising the integrity of the education system. She is also concerned about the lack of regional campus engagement.
International students studying in Australia express worries about the effectiveness and fairness of AI-based detection systems employed by universities to identify instances of cheating. There is a particular concern among non-native English writers that these tools may exhibit biases against them. Researchers recommend refraining from utilizing these tools for student evaluations at present due to their lack of precision. To avoid potential detection, students are resorting to pre-checking tools to verify their work beforehand. Universities emphasize the importance of students submitting their own original work.
The Seventh National Development Plan in Iran has set a target of boosting the enrollment of foreign students in the country’s universities by approximately 10 percent within the upcoming three years. Presently, Iran accommodates more than 94,000 international students, and the Ministry of Science is actively striving to simplify the visa and residence permit processes for them. Furthermore, the Ministry of Science is actively pursuing the goal of attracting students from diverse nations and across various academic disciplines.
Hartwick College is committed to creating a supportive and fair atmosphere for both students and staff, emphasizing active participation and inclusivity. By offering a liberal arts and sciences education, the college places emphasis on cultivating essential skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, and ethical decision-making. Hartwick aims to nurture an environment that promotes mutual respect and appreciation for diverse perspectives, while also encouraging responsible engagement as local, national, and global citizens.
St. Thomas University’s Psychology program focuses on the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, with faculty expertise in areas such as Biological, Clinical, Developmental, Learning and Cognition, and Social and Personality. In upper levels, students can gain experience through research projects and internships, and courses prepare them for careers in Mental Health and Wellness, Speech Language Pathology, Social Work, Human Services, Medicine, Education, Law, and Business.
MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.