International Student recruitment from India: Trends, Predictions and Possibilities
- August 12, 2021
- Posted by: Rupesh Patel
- Category: rupeshpatel
If you want to know the accurate number of Indian students actually going to study abroad to major destinations (Canada, UK, Australia, USA and NZ) since the last decade with market observation and future possibilities for popular study destinations, then you have hit the right blog. This blog will be enough for you to get all the insights related to international student recruitment from India to popular study destinations.
I am always keeping eyes on-ground realities of the market and statistics of fresh students’ visa grant of immigration departments of destination countries to make better decisions for existing education consultancy/agency business as well as upcoming tech startup (This tech startup / platform aims to solve burning issues of students, education consultants, Universities and peak bodies / associations with digital technology. We will launch this platform soon). I am sharing the insights which I am using for my businesses and hope that this will be useful to your organisation as well.
Note: I have used first time/fresh student visa grants data as it is most appropriate data to measure current attractiveness of study destinations. This is totally different than enrollment data or data of the total number of Indian students in particular study destinations.
Table 1: Number of Indian students going to Top 5 Study destinations each year (Based on first time / fresh student visa grants)
Chart 1: Number of Indian students going to Top 5 Study destinations each year (Based on first time / fresh student visa grants)
One of the quick observations is the constant increase in the number of Indian students going abroad to study despite the student visa requirements of most of the destination countries going higher. This is a big positive signal for the whole sector. You may still remember the quality of the majority of students going abroad before 2010 and if we compare the criteria at that time with the criteria now, there is a huge difference. Another change is the majority of destinations encourage mainly Higher education (Australia, UK, USA and Canada) and Polytechnics (Canada and NZ). You may remember the influx of students to Private vocational education providers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand in the past.
Moreover, we can observe the huge gap between 1st popular study destination (Canada) and 2nd popular study destination (USA) among Indian students.
We can clearly observe the recent decline in Indian students going to Australia and a significant increase in the UK numbers in the below sections of the blog.
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Here I am analyzing country-wise trends, predictions and possible way forward.
Insights on Indian students going to Australia
Below tables are representing recent and month wise data, which can provide you more insights with possible trends in the near future.
Some of the Observations and Predictions for the Australian sector
- As I predicted in my previous blog in December, we can see a very high visa grant rate for Higher Education in the Month of December 2019 and January 2020. Fortunately, we saw positive results at our offices in the month of Feb 2020 as well. This is a major positive news for Australian education sector.
- We can see a drop of about 33% in the Numbers for Australia in the last 5 months when compared to the same period in the previous year as shared in Tables above. Looking at the competition, we can safely predict a similar decline in the upcoming months. If the same trends continue, Australia will be the 4th most popular study destination (After Canada, UK and USA) among Indian students in the year 2020.
- We all have observed the negative effect of the Corona virus outbreak on Australian education sector. Therefore student recruitment from India is the most crucial for the sector.
Possible Ways to Increase Market share for the Australian sector
- It would be great if the Australian Government thinks about possible ways to provide more benefits to international students. Numbers for UK and Canada speak louder about Indian students’ love for PSW benefits, return on investment and possibility of migration after study. Canada is the no 1 study destination for many years and the UK will be No 2 popular study destination in 2020 for sure. The UK and Canada both offer a much better return on investment. The UK offers PSW for 2 years, after 1 year of Master’s courses in the UK compared to Australia offers PSW for 2 years, after 2 years of Master’s courses. Australia doesn’t offer PSW after 1-year courses at any education level. Canada offers PSW for 3 years, after 2 years of courses and PSW for 1 year, after 1 year of courses at almost any level for example: Diploma, Certificate, Masters, Pg Dipl. Students going to cities like Toronto and Vancouver also enjoy these PSW benefits. On top of this, Canada offers an easier pathway to permanent residency. Moreover, Canada offers another advantage of the much cheaper Tuition Fees compared to Australia. Therefore Canada is attracting the highest number of Indian students despite the toughest admission entry requirements of Canadian Universities, toughest student visa criteria under SDS and low Student visa grant rate for General stream. In the current competitive environment, it’s advisable that Australia offers more benefits to international students.
- Current Australian student Visa grant ratio for Higher Education is excellent. On the other side, we all are aware of inconsistent student visa decisions with all-time low visa grant rate in the month of August 2019 and the impact of the same in the whole market. Inconsistent student visa decisions and very low visa grant rate were discouraging for all stakeholders including students, universities and education agents. Now it would be great if DoHA works on more weightage on profile-based and consistent student visa decisions along with faster processing. It will help Universities and education agents for the screening of students and the kind of students they should encourage. The recent announcement on processing by DoHA may help for faster processing. It would be great if prompt action will be taken for the students’ profiling and visa consistency. It’s easier to assess students’ educational profile and There is no sure shot way for GTE OR Judging the student’s intention. Profile-based assessment keeping in mind (with focus on judging) the intention of students should be sufficient. Canadian student visa model is a good example. SDS stream for the Good profile students and General stream for the rest of the students. Visa grant for SDS is usually near to 95% and visa grant rate for general stream is lower.
Insights on Indian students going to the UK
Below Tables are about (1) the number of UK student visas Granted in all quarters of the year 2019 and 2018 & (2) Percentage Increase in Indian students who were granted UK Student visas for the year 2019 compared to 2018. This can provide you with a better idea on the future recruitment of Indian students in the year 2020 and 2021.
Indian students granted sponsored study (Tier 4) visas for the year 2019 and 2018 (Quarter-wise and Total)
Percentage increase in Indian students granted UK Student visas for the year 2019 compared to 2018 (Quarter-wise and Total)
Some of the observations for the UK sector
- PSW announcement was in September 2019 and before that, there was just a discussion that the UK could announce PSW news soon. In spite of that, a big Jump can be noticed in the Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2019. Also from numbers in Q3, I assume that this big jump must be particularly for September 2019.
- 300.52% increase in Q4 (2019) indicate the possible big jump in all quarters of 2020 and onwards. I can safely predict that the UK will overtake the USA in 2020 as the 2nd most popular study destination among Indian students.
- PSW has attracted Indian students back to the UK as the majority of Indian students value the brand UK and quality of education in the UK & long history of Indo-UK education ties. 2 years of PSW after 1 year of Master’s is an attractive proposition compared to PSW offered by other popular study destinations like Australia and the USA. In addition to the above point, there are many students opting for the UK, as they are not eligible from some other popular study destination like Canada.
Possible Way Forward for the UK sector for the longevity of the UK market
- The UK got much-needed growth in the Indian market. Now it’s time to streamline, in order to have the longevity of the market & increasing desire course outcome and course completion ratio. We all want business and growth. however, no one wants a scenario that was faced in the years 2012-2018
- From the Business point of view, IELTS waiver (Based on Medium of instruction letters AND/OR marks in English subject of Year 12) is a good tool to get students at an early stage of the application and cut the time. However, this is a useful tool if the education credentials of students can be verified and are accurate. However, it is difficult to verify the results for many Indian institutes and education boards. More work and analysis is required on the use of MOI tool. Moreover, I am confident that London based universities can get students at full capacity even if they have criteria of Minimum 6 Bands OR 6.5 Bands in IELTS. Outside London, this may vary from University to University and may depend on the location, University profile and course as well.
- I personally believe that students from Good Education agencies, which have good credentials and history, might do much better as they recruit those students who are much aware and better matched with their Institute. Students from potential non-credential agencies have a higher drop-off and lower conversion ratio. British council trained counsellors and agencies may provide much better counselling to the UK bound students. Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have any other agency vetting system except British council training. In addition to British council training, Institutes may look at vetting methods of other countries like AAERI Membership, AIRC Membership, ENZRA etc. To Know the potential impact of the Credible Agencies and Non-credential agencies; Universities should do a full review of data of students who arrived on campus between Sept 2019 and Feb 2020 with important insights like; How many students are not enrolled? How many students are not attending classes or not progressing well? and then link those results with education agencies that recruited those students. The result will be clearly visible for sure. In fact, comparing students who arrive with valid IELTS scores and students with IELTS waiver will be useful as well.
Observations for Canada, US and NZ based on the above facts and Market knowledge:
- It is clearly observed that Canada is a steady and most popular study destination in India with more than 1,00,000 students’ visa grants each year.
- For Canada, positive factors for Indian students are: Post-study work visas, Better chances of permanent residency after study and higher duration under post-study work visa (compared to all other major study destinations), immigration-friendly government, positive local environment for international students, profile-based easy and quick process of student visas etc. It is clearly reflected from the statistics that for Indian students, Post-study work opportunities and Increasing possibility of permanent residency are major factors in selecting a study destination.
- You can observe the gradual decline of student visas issued for the US in the year 2018 and major slow down in 2016 and 2017. However, there is not much change from 2018 to 2019. The US is No 2 Popular study destination for Indian students in 2019.
- For the US, data in the above tables only show F1 visas, as numbers are very small under M1 visa category for India. For example, Number of students visa under M1 category (Vocational education) for the year 2018 is 628 and for the year 2019 is 583.
- The number of students going to New Zealand is still below 10,000 for the year 2019 as well. Although there is a slight increase in the numbers, it is not significant.
We are all aware that the COVID – 2019 become a global pandemic, there will be many uncertain situations for 2020. The COVID-19 crisis is bad for the whole sector.
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