Weekly news roundup: UK will admit more Indian students, and Ireland start recruitment push

By Nicole Wootton-Cane• Last updated: Oct 31, 2023
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This week saw the UK and Indian governments sign a new ‘migration and mobility deal’ that will welcome thousands more Indian students to the country each year. 

Alongside that, universities are being pushed to cover the cost of quarantine for arriving students after concerns that it is limiting recruitment.

And in Ireland, a post-Brexit recruitment push begins, as they become one of only two anglophone countries in the European Union.

Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup. 

UK will admit more Indian students in new migration deal

The UK is set to admit thousands more Indian students to their universities following a new agreement with the Indian government. 

London and Delhi have signed a ‘migration and mobility deal’ that will allow more Indian students to enter the UK in exchange for illegal migrants being sent back to India. 

The move is indicative of the current government’s more lenient approach to international students. Previously, Indian students have counted within the region’s net migration target, limiting their numbers. 

The number of Indian students studying abroad in the UK has increased dramatically from 2015-2020, up 228% over the five years. 

And universities in the UK are being urged to consider covering the cost of quarantine for Indian students who travel to the country.

Any students arriving in the UK from India must currently quarantine for 11 days in a designated hotel, amounting to a cost of £1,750.

It is hoped that universities taking on more of the financial burden of quarantine will encourage more students to enroll during the pandemic. 

The University of Edinburgh has become the first institution to announce that it will help support quarantining students financially upon arrival.

International education expert Rajika Bhandari told Times Higher Education that the cost of quarantine would “definitely negatively affect those Indian students who, to begin with, have limited resources and whose families are stretching their rupees to send their children abroad” and “universities should consider helping students cover the cost or at least some portion of it”.

Ireland start post-Brexit recruitment push

Irish universities are pushing to recruit more international students in a post-covid and Brexit effort. 

The push will focus mainly on China, following on from the number of Chinese students studying in Ireland doubling since 2014. 

“The attractions of Ireland’s top universities and the culture of Ireland deserve to be better understood by students in China,” said Sean Wuhua Zhang, president of the Ambright Institute of Educational and Scientific Research.

Brexit means that Ireland and Malta will be the only remaining anglophone countries in the European Union - something that makes Ireland an attractive option for international students.

Douglas Proctor, director of UCD Global at University College Dublin, told Times Higher Education that “Ireland has been getting ready for Brexit for about four years, and looking at students from China, South-east Asia, India and North America.

“The Irish HE sector is small; Ireland is small. And Irish universities have slipped under the radar,” he said. “But people should be talking about Ireland. Brexit has given a real opportunity to Irish universities as the only major English-speaking destination in the EU. It has given us an opportunity to reposition.”

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