A study conducted by Navitas involved gauging the perceptions of agents regarding the qualitative analysis of the immigration and education environment prevalent in top study-abroad destinations. One of the major findings of the research includes the fact that a particular government’s handling of outbreaks and waves of the COVID-19 virus has a limited role to play as a factor in deciding whether a study-abroad destination is open and welcoming.
The survey, however, did find that New Zealand, Canada and Australia are considered to be “safe and stable” compared to the other popular study abroad destinations such as the USA and the UK. This could be primarily due to the rising racial tensions and uncertainty due to rules brought into place by President Trump in the USA, and the Brexit related uncertainties prevalent in the UK.
But, this sentiment is not particularly reflected in the “open and welcoming” gauge, where the UK is said to be much more “open and welcoming” than the three countries mentioned above. While the UK does not rank particularly highly in the ‘safe and stable’ category, it does so in the ‘open and welcoming’ category, particularly because of the large-scale visa changes being brought about by the UK government, which are making it easier for students to eventually gain a permanent residency in the UK after completing certain years in study and work. The new graduate routes and student routes introduced by the UKVi have made the entire process much more streamlined and accessible.
The report’s author Jon Chew, head of strategic insights and analytics at Navitas, said, “For agents, a country’s reputation as being ‘open and welcoming’ is currently more important than its reputation as being ‘safe and stable’ when it comes to its attractiveness as a study destination… On the whole, agents are less enthusiastic about how countries have handled the coronavirus pandemic over the last two months,”
The report also added,” “One of the most significant findings of the September survey is the shift in perceptions of the UK’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis… Opinions on the UK’s handling have improved substantially since the first round of research in May 2020.”