Study Abroad 2024: The number of Indian students going abroad for higher education is increasing with every passing year. Following the pandemic, many countries have reported an increase in immigration of international students, due to which they are facing many issues such as housing. Therefore, these countries are now bringing in strict rules for study visas and graduate/post-study work visas.
Here are some countries that have recently made changes to their immigration policy, especially related to students:
Study Abroad 2024: Australia
Australia has gained immense popularity among Indian students as a preferred study abroad destination. According to government data, at least 1.09 lakh Indian students were studying in Australia in 2022. This number has been continuously increasing since 2019 when it was 73808, which decreased to 33629 in 2020 and 8950 in 2021 (due to Covid pandemic).
Recently, the Australian Government announced that international students will now be required to have high scores in English proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL and Duolingo English Tests. As per the revised rules the required test score for Temporary Graduate Visa will increase from IELTS score 6.0 to 6.5, and for Student Visa, it will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0.
Furthermore, the country will also introduce a new genuine student test for all international students. This will replace the existing de facto temporary entry requirement to acknowledge that temporary migration (and beyond) routes after study are available to those who may be eligible.
In terms of the finances involved, the Australian government has also increased the savings amount required for international students to be eligible for a student visa. Currently, students must show proof of $24,505 in savings.
Study Abroad 2024: United Kingdom (UK)
The UK recently published a report on immigration based on analysis conducted by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). According to the report, more than 7.50 lakh students go to the UK every year to study in higher and further education, independent and linguistic schools. With this in mind, the current British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced that since “immigration is too high”, the British government will take steps to reduce immigration figures.
Keeping his promise, Rishi Sunak has announced a ban on foreign students from bringing their families to the UK unless they are on a postgraduate research degree. Additionally, international students will also no longer be allowed to switch from student visas to work routes until they complete their studies.
Additionally, the Rishi Sunak-led government has also ordered a review of the two-year post-study work (PSW) visa. Earlier, the Boris Johnson government had announced the reinstatement of the two-year post-study work (PSW) visa in the UK, which allows international students enrolled at undergraduate and higher level to stay in the UK for two years after graduation to working or looking for work.
A few months ago, the UK also announced an increase in visa fees (including study visas) by approximately £127. Now, the revised visa application fee for student visa is Rs 51,787.
Study Abroad 2024: Canada
India and Canada have seen a number of hiccups in immigration over the past few months, and the most affected by these ups and downs are Indian students who are planning to pursuing higher education in Canada.
India and Canada have seen several disruptions in immigration over the past few months, and the most affected by these fluctuations are Indian students planning to pursue higher education in Canada. Beginning December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLIs) are required to confirm each applicant’s acceptance letter directly with IRCC. This new, enhanced verification process is intended to protect prospective students from acceptance letter fraud and help them avoid similar problems that some students faced earlier in Fall 2023 as a result of fraud investigations. It will also ensure that study permits are issued only on the basis of genuine acceptance letters.
Like the UK, Canada will soon complete an assessment of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria and begin reforms to better calibrate it to meet Canadian labor market needs as well as regional and francophone immigration goals.
In December, Mark Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, also announced that the minimum cost of living financial requirement for students will be increased from the current 10,000 Canadian dollars to 20,635 Canadian dollars starting January 1, 2024.
United States of America (USA)
The United States, one of the most popular study abroad destinations among Indian students, announced a new rule for student visa applicants in 2023 to prevent fraud and abuse in the appointment system.
As per the new guidelines, all students applying for F, M and J student visas have been advised to use their passport information while creating profiles and scheduling their visa appointment. If applicants have used an incorrect passport number while creating a profile or making an appointment, they will not be accepted at the Visa Application Center (VAC). The US Embassy in India said their appointments would be canceled and visa fees will be lost.
A popular choice among Indian students aiming to pursue a career in fields like fashion, culinary arts, management, business etc., France is bringing changes to make study abroad an easier journey experience for international students.
As per the new guidelines, the French government has now extended the previously sponsored two-year post-study work visa to five years, for students pursuing a master’s degree in France. France has recently announced that students who have spent even a semester in the country pursuing their Master’s or above can avail of a five-year short-term Schengen visa and look for job opportunities.
Located near the UK, Ireland is one of the emerging study abroad destinations for Indian students. For post study work visa, the Irish government allows international students completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree to reside in the country for a period of two years, while a PhD holder can reside in the country for a period of three years. Earlier this time limit was one year for graduation.
Recently, New Zealand announced that it will now accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) One Skill Retake option. IELTS One Skill Retake allows test takers to retake any one of the four skills (Listening, Reading, Writing or Speaking) if they have not achieved the desired score on the first attempt.
The decision taken by Immigration New Zealand is considered a valid and reliable means of assessing English language proficiency, meeting the stringent requirements for international migration to New Zealand.