The year 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride for students who want to study abroad. It began with a postponed enrolment process and admissions and finished with numerous policy modifications.
But, as the saying goes, “all’s well that ends well“. A new and more progressive government was welcomed in the United States in 2021, which intended to make it simpler for students to come in and become immigrants.
This year, the UK saw a more than threefold rise in admissions as many of our students travelled there to take advantage of the Post Study Work (PSW) visa. The year ended with Australia reopening its border after a two-year closure.
A competitive PSW visa exists and an intake in June as opposed to September-October for the UK and Canada, Australia is not going to pass up any opportunity to reclaim students, their second-largest GDP growth engine. It’s been pouring down joyous tears on students as most of the countries have reopened doors to international students.
And it’s not just opening up in comparison to Covid-era locks; it’s turned the entire last decade on its head. Heads of states recognized and implemented actions that have resulted in significant changes.
Canada meeting its 2021 target of 400,000+ new permanent residents
Canada declared approximately a week ago that it has met its 2021 goal of inviting 4,00,000+ new permanent immigrants in the calendar year.
According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, the majority of these petitions came from temporary workers already residing outside of the country.
This is a major plus because it demonstrates a very promising comeback from the 2020 total of almost 1,80,000 PRs given. This not only solidifies Canada’s position as “the immigration destination,” but it also puts other rising destinations to shame.
USA waiving off mandatory interviews in the VISA process
A further encouraging and important step, the United States recently declared that what was formerly known as “the mandatory interview” will now be optional, with the decision of the Consular Officer interview remaining unchanged.
In light of the ongoing backlog, this provision, while applied to most non-immigrant visas, also sees validity extensions for students’ F & M type visas until December 31, 2022.
Australia opening its borders for international students
The most significant and recent news is that Australia has opened its borders to international students and has also developed a travel bubble with India in order to attract Indian international students.
The Anglo-world AKA the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States is welcoming. Whereas other rising destinations such as Germany, France, and the UAE are developing infrastructure and policies that will allow them to take a place at this table very soon. The ‘attitude’ of these students also shifts.
Previously, students would depend on “lowest kilometre counsel,” or whatever advice was most easily available around them, but today they rely on the Internet to accomplish that task.
Nearly 300 universities participated in the UniConnect virtual fairs, which were attended by over 40,000 students. The UK increasing its international student population and the US losing more than one-third of its population is a reflection of this, not just the policy.
Consequently, whereas countries like the United Kingdom and Australia are expected to enjoy a surge in interest due to their trust-building efforts, the United States will have to fight its way back starting in 2022.
Overall, the students win because they have the opportunity to study the right program at the right university and, more crucially, ‘in the right nation’.
Students are now being given a fair chance to evaluate higher education in terms of ‘what kind of career it gets them’. If countries continue to welcome international students in a similar manner then the new frontier of attending a university overseas is good to seem extremely diverse as compared to its past.