The overseas education sector, like many others, has gone through turbulent times in the past two years due to the pandemic. It gradually picked up well in 2022, with many countries easing their border restrictions and welcoming international students. This momentum will continue to grow at a steady pace in 2023, with countries having more favourable policies for international students.
International education has widened significantly, with more Indian students opting to study abroad. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, more than 1.3 million students studied abroad in 2022. Countries such as the US and UK had record-breaking visa issuance for Indian students. Preference for anglophone countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland continues despite the emergence of off-beat study-abroad destinations.
The top-notch education system, world-class faculty, great post-study work permits, better scholarship options, and ease of communication led to these countries’ popularity. A few of the trends that 2023 will witness in the overseas education sector are as follows:
1. Visa processing for Canada and the US to be on track by Fall: Countries such as Canada and the US had a backlog of visa processing which is likely to clear by the fall of 2023. Both countries are keen to welcome more international students and have already taken corrective measures to ease the visa delays.
US: The US embassy mentioned that the number of visa applications is projected to reach around 1.2 million. They have taken various initiatives, such as hiring more officials and increasing the DropBox* facility (The facility to submit documents without an interview) to help with the backlog. They have also prioritised visa processing of students and issued more than 1 lakh student visas to Indians in 2022.
Canada: Similarly, Canada’s Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have digitised applications, hired and trained new employees, streamlined processes and automated technology for faster visa issuance. They are constantly trying to reduce the wait time and modernise their services.According to IRCC’s presentation at the Canadian Bureau of International Education Conference in November 2022, they processed over 7 lakh study permits globally in 2022 and plan to process over 1.1 million study permits by 2026.
2. Looking beyond STEM courses: STEM courses will continue to remain popular for Indians. However, apart from STEM, non-STEM courses will also register a huge uptick in 2023. Healthcare, Cyber Security, Data Science, Data Analytics, Finance and Fintech, Computer Science and IT, Business Analytics, Business and Management, Hospitality and Tourism, and Supply Chain courses will witness a rise in popularity in 2023 in countries such as the US, the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia.
3. Australia’s rebound will continue: According to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Australia, there has been an 85 rise in Indian student visa lodgements in FY 2022 compared to FY 2021. In FY 2023 (YTD Nov), there has been a growth of over 300 percent in student visa lodgements and 480 percent in visa grants compared to last year’s FY 2022 for Indian students, according to the same source.
Australia’s Higher Education sector (UG, PG, and Research) is very popular among Indian students. An increasing number of Indian students are opting for UG courses, and the momentum is expected to continue in 2023. The signing of the Free Trade Agreement between India and Australia will be beneficial to strengthen the bilateral trade between the two countries and the students pursuing studies in Australia.
With favourable government policies, an increase in Post Study Work permits, and robust student protection laws, Australia will remain one of the top study-abroad destinations in 2023.
4. The UK will perform better in 2023: The UK has steadily grown since 2019 as one of the most preferred study-abroad destinations for Indian students. The UK Immigration Statistics published in August 2022 shows that nearly 118,000 Indian students received a student visa in the year ending June 2022 – an 89 percent increase from the previous year.
India has overtaken China as the largest nationality being issued sponsored study visas in the UK. With the Sunak government recognising the economic and cultural contribution made by international students, its popularity as a great study-abroad destination will continue to surge at a fast pace.
5. New Zealand to bounce back significantly: After prolonged border closures during the pandemic,New Zealand will bounce back in 2023 for international students. The Ardern government is encouraging international students to study in New Zealand. It has indicated an ambitious plan to expand New Zealand education’s online and offshore provision for overseas students and increase the quality of on-campus options.
The NZ government’s heavy investment in initiatives such as ‘Global Pathways’ targets international students who would consider studying in their own country and then transitioning to on-campus programmes in New Zealand will result in more international students studying in the country.
6. Applications from Tier 2 and 3 cities continue to soar: Tier 2 and 3 Indian students have increasingly opted for overseas education for the past few years. The trend will continue in 2023 as well. With the easy availability of loans, better career prospects, specialised courses, many people are opting to study abroad.
Smaller towns across the country such as Mysuru, Guntur, Trivandrum, Moga, Bhatinda, Vadodara, Surat, Nagpur,and many more, will see a surge in students going abroad to study.
This article was originally posted by India Today
Authored by Piyush Kumar