Non-US destination look to lure more Indian students with easier visa norms


Even as September ushers in fresh and advanced rounds of applications for out of the country education, destinations other than the US look to expand their share in pie of Indian students by easing visa norms.

As an example, while Australia recently opened up visa application process for international students with Indians set to take pleasure in the same, United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has now introduced flexibility in visa rules with health precautions. As a part of its commitment to support the visa system experience for students, United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI)’s move looks to make sure a comfortable and secure surroundings for all customers, particularly incoming international students, in conjunction with its visa products and services partner VFS Global.

A recent survey among Indian students by Edvoy, an online platform promising neutral advice, application reinforce and satisfied for prospective international students across South Asia shows that 35 per cent of students desire to go to Canada for higher education in September 2020 while 33 per cent voted for Ireland.

The education consultancy platform surveyed 4,000 Indian students on four study destinations namely UK, US, Canada and Ireland where it conversely found that for January 2021 intake, the USA was once the most preferred study out of the country destination by students followed by Canada. The survey highlights 43 per cent of the students have deliberate to go ahead with their education in the USA and 35 percent to Canada.

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Consultants too feel that with other out of the country education destinations like UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada taking a more pragmatic approach in favour of students by letting them stay while conducting online classes could work against US varsities. “Many could start having a look at these destinations more favourably over US in the next admission session provided such beneficial conditions for students in these non-US markets,” according to Rohit Sethi, director of ESS Global, an out of the country education consultancy firm.

A number of the latest steps of easing the process for international students, particularly Indians, UKVI is allowing incoming international students to apply for study (Tier 4) visa when they’re because of commute to the United Kingdom, fairly than at the start of their class lesson. This means students who have already gained admission can begin their courses online and apply for a UK study visa when they’re in a position to take action. The move is being taken with an aim to limit disruption caused by ongoing COVID-19 commute restrictions.

Further, the new Graduate Immigration Route that allows students who total undergraduate or Master’s degrees to stay and work, look for work, and gain experience in the United Kingdom for up to two years (three years for PhD students) from Summer 2021, has been modified to accommodate students who start their courses out of the country, online. These students will be eligible to apply for the Graduate Route, given they’re in the United Kingdom before 6 April 2021 and total the last semester of their studies in the United Kingdom.

The Graduate Immigration Route policy was once announced in September 2019 to help the United Kingdom attract and keep even more of the most efficient international graduates from India, ensuring those graduates safe skilled jobs and contribute to the United Kingdom’s economic growth.

According to David Ratcliffe, UK Visas and Immigration Regional Director, South and South East Asia, over the previous few years there was a immense increase in the number of Indian students choosing the United Kingdom’s world-class higher-education system as the destination for their studies.

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“Despite the challenges of Coronavirus, we are self-assured that many thousands more will sign up for their compatriots at university in the United Kingdom this autumn. For those travellers, our message is lucid: your safety is our highest precedence. All over the visa application process and your commute to the United Kingdom, we are taking measures to be sure you are secure and safe. Moreover, the new Graduate Route is guaranteed to open next summer – meaning those students heading to the United Kingdom this autumn will have the ability to apply for 2 years extra post-study leave to kick start their career in the United Kingdom,” Ratcliffe added.

However, the Australian government had begun recommencing student visa granting process in all locations lodged out of doors Australia in order that when borders re-open, students will have already got visas and have the ability to make arrangements to commute. International students were now in a position to lodge a further student visa application gratis whether they’re unable to total their studies inside their original visa validity because of COVID-19.

Further, current student visa holders studying online out of doors Australia because of COVID-19 would now have the ability to use that study to count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. However, graduates who held a student visa will be eligible to apply for a post-study work visa out of doors Australia whether they’re unable to go back because of COVID-19.

Lauding the Australian Government’s efforts, Study Group Managing Director for Australia, Alex Chevrolle said that the announcements send timed sign to students considering studying in Australia, providing them confidence to begin applying for their visas. The move is set to benefit Indian students whose numbers in Australia have nearly doubled from 70,000 five years ago to kind of 120,000 in 2019.

Meantime, Edvoy’s survey also found that with the imposition of worldwide lockdown led to commute bans and quarantines, and closure of all educational institutes, several international universities showed willingness to adopt a blended learning mannequin. The survey showed that 42 per cent of Indian students, aspiring to study in the United Kingdom universities embrace the idea of blended learning, a mix of face-to-face and online learning.

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