January 18th, 2019
Right before the end of 2018, Forbes posted an article on how successful Canada has been in attracting international students to its institutions while the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are experiencing the opposite. The US has been keeping its #1 spot for a few decades as the preferred destination for international students, followed by the UK, Australia, and Canada but it is losing its hold on this title, as is the UK. We have decided to look at these four countries and highlight what has caused the uptick for Canada while the others are seeing the numbers plateauing.
The 2018 Open Doors Report cited the political climate in the U.S. as one of the major factors contributing to the ongoing declining enrollment of international students. Out of 540 institutions surveyed for the report, 60 percent cited the present political and social climate as one of the major reasons for the slump.
- Security and safety are an issue
- High cost of living and tuition
- New strict visa rule make is very difficult for securing student visas and work permits after graduation
Spotlight: United Kingdom
UK has enjoyed holding the #2 spot after the US, but it has seen a decline in international student number due to the following:
- Tougher Immigration policies
- Brexit caused an immediate decline in EU students attending UK institutions
- High cost of living
- High tuition fees
Australia is heavily reliant on China for its international students and is becoming less popular for the Chinese because of the following:
- Security and safety concerns
- Tougher immigration policies
- High tuition fees
- Difficult in securing student visas
Between 2015 and 2017 alone, the number of international students in Canada increased by over 40 per cent. What is Canada doing?
- Lenient immigration policies
- Seen as open, safe and welcoming
- Offering postgraduate work permits for up 3 years and encourages international students to apply for permanent residency
- Availability of study visas which are significantly easier to obtain
- Lower cost of living
- Lower tuition costs
- Canadian employers have shown great interest in hiring international student graduates not only because they speak several languages but they are seen as an asset to the Canadian work force and economy. According to the Forbes article: “As baby boomers retire from the workforce, Canada looks to newcomers like international students to help cover projected worker shortages in local economies by 2025. As a result of international student spending, approximately 170,000 jobs were created in the Canadian economy in 2017. That is a significant economic stimulus.”
A few common threads we see amongst the US, UK and Australia are their stricter immigration policies, many of which were shaped because of shifts in their respective governments, but they are also seen as expensive both in terms of cost of living and tuition. Limited or no opportunities for employment and possibilities to apply for permanent residency on graduation also makes these countries less attractive higher education destinations. When you compare Canada’s open and welcoming approach to international students and the opportunities students have on graduation, it is obvious why it is the favored destination and why it will soon make its way to the #1 position.
The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.