This week’s news comes from the US, Canada, and UK, with President Biden revoking key Trump proposals surrounding international student visas.
In Canada, the Student Direct Stream has been further expanded to include new countries in the Caribbean and South America and UK universities are being encouraged to look elsewhere to meet international student numbers. Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup.
Biden revokes Trump’s proposal to limit international student visas
Biden’s Democratic administration has revoked a proposal introduced under President Trump to limit the number of international student visas.
The Trump administration’s proposals to impose strict time restrictions on international students in the US for higher education was initiated last year through the US Department of Homeland Security. It would have limited overseas students to four-year long visas.
President Biden’s decision to revoke the proposal has been hailed by higher education leaders. It’s seen as the first step towards the administration meeting its promises to be more welcoming to international students.
Recently, the Biden administration announced that immediate help would include broad exemptions from travel restrictions due to Covid for college students coming to the US later this year.
However, delays in processing visa applications for international students have caused significant concerns for the sector.
Canada extends Student Direct Stream to new countries
Canada has announced that its Student Direct Stream (SDS) will be extended to an additional seven countries across the Caribbean and South America.
The SDS was launched in 2018 and allows applicants in China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam to provide additional information up-front. This will allow Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to make thorough assessments and decisions quickly.
The scheme was extended to include Pakistan, Morocco, and Senegal in 2019. It now covers 14 countries, with new additions including:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Costa Rica
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
The latest announcement of further expansion of the SDS supports Canada’s International Education Strategy, with the aim of welcoming a greater number of international students from a “broad range” of countries.
UK universities urged to increase diversity
UK universities have been encouraged to increase their diversity in recruitment by speakers at the BUILA Annual Conference 2021.
Diversifying the areas of student recruitment was one of the key topics at the two-day conference. Other topics included the short and long-term financial impact of the Covid pandemic on the sector.
Senior analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, John Marrett, highlighted that “The potential number of UK foreign students will be hit by this crisis in the medium term.”
Whilst Vietnam and the Philippines are considered “major potential sources of growth”, “China is slowing and this pandemic will only add to that impact,” he added.
In the past, an over-reliance on China to fill postgraduate student numbers has been labelled as risky. The Covid pandemic may cause universities to look at new emerging markets to find students, including other countries in Asia.
UUKi Director, Vivienne Stern called on UK institutions to engage in a coordinated approach to implement the visa for the country’s international education strategy.