Academics have reacted strongly to the denial by the Indian government of visas to Pakistani scholar.
Source: Economic Times
The HRD Ministry intends on making it easier for foreign faculty to get visas.
Canada has the “softest” approach to screening for student visa fraud, according to a recent study of four countries that are popular destinations for international students. Ellie Bothwell of Times Higher Education reports that according to the study, Canada’s provincially led system for awarding degrees “can allow more room for corruption” and has allegedly “damaged” the country’s international reputation. Report author Rachael Merola argues that Canada must take a more proactive approach to dealing with student visa fraud if it wishes to remain a top destination for students.
Source: The Telegraph
Fears over the number of immigrants exploiting the student visa system to enter Britain illegally have been raised by a Telegraph investigation.
More than 100,000 foreign students were suspected of abusing the system to get into the country last year, 20 times the figure of two years ago.
The disclosure raises concerns that tough new rules brought in to clamp down on abuse of the system are being routinely flouted.
Under the regulations introduced in 2009, anyone from outside the European Union coming to study full-time in Britain must be sponsored by a college or university licensed by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Institutions must also report any concerns to immigration officials.
The new figures, obtained by The Telegraph using freedom of information laws, reveal that the UKBA received 106,698 warnings about foreign students in the academic year 2011/12. This compares with 77,757 the previous year and just 4,795 in the 12 months before that. Over the same period, the total number of foreign students has risen only slightly, from 405,805 in 2009/10 to 435,235 in 2011/12.
This newspaper has also established that some colleges have been able to get around the licensing rules by registering multiple colleges at the same site so they can transfer students between them.
David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth and a former member of the home affairs select committee, said the figures suggested the scale of student visa abuse for the first time. “Colleges are under new obligations to make these reports and they indicate how it is highly likely that large numbers of foreign students have abused the system over many years,” he said.
“Ministers were right to require colleges to report on missing students, despite all the criticism they received for doing so, and colleges were wrong to complain about it. The Government must continue to work hard to stamp out such abuse of British hospitality.”
The UKBA was not able to say what happened to all of the students about whom it was alerted. Last year, the organisation was criticised in an official report for ignoring tens of thousands of such warnings from universities and colleges about foreign students, suggesting that many of them could have remained in the country.
Under the system, colleges, universities and language schools that do not report concerns to the authorities face losing their licence to sponsor students, known as “highly trusted status”.
Since 2009, more than 800 such institutions have lost their licence, according to comparethecourse.com, the only organisation that keeps an updated register.
The Telegraph has established that some of these colleges are able to sidestep this punishment by transferring students to “partner colleges” — often run on the same site, by the same staff — that still have a licence.
Forbes Graduate School (FGS) in Slough, Berkshire, had its licence suspended this February.
The college’s director also runs three other colleges from the same building, with the same staff and courses.
One of the colleges, the London College of Finance and Accounting, is a highly trusted sponsor – the highest level of sponsorship.
Ravinder Kumar, the director and principal of the four colleges, said he operates them in this way so that if one college has its licence suspended or revoked he can move the students to another of his colleges, without them having to apply for a new visa.
He said: “Since FGS had its licence suspended last month we haven’t been able to take any more foreign students. The students that are already enrolled feel insecure because they don’t know what is happening. So we move them to another college to reassure them.
“The UKBA rules are ridiculous. They took the licence because we hadn’t reported to them when our students weren’t attending classes.
“But we follow strictly the guidelines they give us. I agree the UKBA should take action against dummy colleges but genuine colleges should not be given such treatment.”
After the college threatened the UKBA with court action its licence was restored earlier this month.
He said: “When another of our colleges had its licence suspended in 2011 we took it to the High Court, which ordered the UKBA to restore the licence. We don’t believe the rules are fair or practical.”
Aldgate College in Whitechapel, east London, had its licence suspended in August last year.
Haemin Abdul Aziz, its director, is also the director of London Corporate College (LCC), which is a highly trusted sponsor. The colleges occupy the same floor in a building. Mr Aziz said he was seeking legal advice to challenge in court the UKBA’s decision to take its licence.
He said: “At the moment, the students are still formally registered with Aldgate College. But if we lose the court case and our licence is revoked then we will have to transfer the students to LCC.”
The 189,250 warnings about foreign students over three years covered a range of circumstances about which colleges are required to update the UKBA. They included: 70,815 reports of a significant change to a student’s circumstances; 52,309 reports of a university or college having stopped sponsoring a student and 16,839 reports that a student had discontinued their studies. The figure also included 32,423 reports of students failing to enrol on the course within the correct time frame; as well as 1,786 reports that students may have breached the conditions of their leave to remain in the UK. Almost 200,000 student visas were issued in 2011/12 and about 1,800 universities, colleges and language schools are registered as student sponsors.
The student visa system has been hit by a series of controversies in recent months. In August last year, border officials stripped London Metropolitan University of its right to sponsor overseas students. The following month, it emerged that the UKBA had ignored tens of thousands of warnings from universities and colleges about foreign students.
It meant that 23,000 bogus students were allowed to remain in Britain when they should have been sent home. Many have still not been traced. In November last year, it emerged that foreign students were responsible for a backlog of more than 300,000 asylum claims.
Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: “This is astonishing evidence of the sheer scale of abuse of the British education system by foreign students.
“The Home Office must follow up on these warnings and, if necessary, close down institutions that are failing to live up to their responsibilities.
“It’s remarkable that directors whose companies have been stripped of trusted status should be able to dodge checks so easily.
“There must be more focus on those who are behind potential abuse.”
Source: World News Australia
Under new rules, foreign students who graduate with an Australian bachelor’s degree, masters or doctorate can work for up to four years in Australia upon completion.
International students have greater chances to find employment under the federal government’s changes to the 485 Temporary Graduate visa.
Under the changes to visa subclass 485, which took effect on March 28, foreign students who graduated with an Australian bachelor’s degree, masters or doctorate, can obtain a visa to remain and work in Australia for between two and four years, depending on their degree — a significant increase on the previous limit of 18 months.
In an already competitive job market, the incentive is to lure high quality overseas students to study in Australia.
“Technically, it’s now much easier for international students to stay in Australia,” said Danny Ong, Multicultural Employment Consultant at Monash University. “But the main concern is that there is now a bigger group of international students competing for work opportunities”.
Remaining in Australia can be a gamble.
“This is a question that international students need to ask: it’s whether I can get a job,” Mr Ong said.
For international students, tuition fees could cost up to $30,000 per year, paid up-front, and application fees can cost almost $2,000.
“A lot of students find it very difficult to deal with parental expectations,” said Mr Ong. And this is affecting the quality of the international student experience.
“They tend to make an association between money and the quality of education. And that influences their interaction with the university,” he said.
Lyndal Partington, careers consultant at the University of NSW, says it is important to learn skills away from the classroom for a holistic education.
“It’s important to help them [international students] develop communication skills, team work skills — soft skills employers look for in graduates,” she said.
“One of the challenges is that they don’t have local work-experience and it’s hard to get their foot in the door. And another challenge is the difference in workplace culture between Australia and their home country,” said Ms Partington.
Under the 485 Temporary Graduate Visa, students can obtain a two-year work visa if they studied in Australia for at least 16 months and have completed either a bachelor’s degree or a masters by course work. Students who completed a masters by research can qualify for a three-year visa, while those who completed a doctorate get four years.
By Sparsh Sharma
With post-degree job opportunities on the decline in much of the developed world, several visa restrictions in the UK, comparatively higher cost of education in the USA, and racist attacks in Australia, Canada is fast emerging as an upcoming destination for many Indian students wanting to study abroad. In several United Nations’ surveys, Canada has been found to be one of the best places to live in the world with low crime rates, high life expectancy, and better access to education.
Jugnu Dutta, an international education consultant from Navi Mumbai, agrees with the trend. “A degree/diploma from a Canadian institution is globally recognised. Canadian immigration process has been relaxed for international students, giving the students an opportunity to look for jobs and eventually apply for Permanent Residency (PR). International students in Canada are permitted to work part time for 20 hours/week (first six months in campus and off campus thereafter). During vacations, international students can work up to 40 hours. Average pay for part time job is C$8 – C$11 per hour. All these factors have made the country a much-preferred destination for Indian students,” says Dutta.
Also, since Canada is one of the most multicultural and diverse countries in the world and accepts people from different backgrounds, international students acclimatise better in Canada than in other countries, according to Imran Kanga, associate director, student services and international relations, Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto. “Traditionally, the UK, USA and Australia were prime destinations for students. At the moment, the US economy is not doing very well and so international students are having trouble finding jobs, especially because in the US, companies have to sponsor visas for students. The UK has put breaks on immigration altogether and students have to leave the country once they are done with their studies. Canada on the other hand welcomes international students from all over the world, as is evident by the work permit incentive that is automatically given to students post their graduation, which allows them to stay in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. The Canadian economy is very stable, and our financial system is sound. This means that students are not struggling to find work after they graduate, as the market is receptive. This helps because students are able to work and pay back their student loans faster,” he says.
The students get a chance to mix and learn from a diverse peer groups consisting of students from all over the world and from varying work and educational backgrounds. Canada is a very safe place, the people are extremely warm, friendly and students, who go to Canada, have very enriching experiences.
Sharath Janakiraman, current MBA student at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, says, “Despite the rigour, it is not ‘all work and no play’. Social events, exhilarating post-exam celebration parties and various sports activities have been able to add enough fun to my MBA experience. Although this was the first time I am living outside India for such a long time, the warmth of people in Toronto always makes me feel at home.”
The number of international students has increased over the years, in Canada. A trend confirmed by counselors and universities. “Along with the Canadian students, our complement of international students has also grown, from 22 countries represented six years ago, to more than 600 students and 75 countries on campus today,” tells Paul Marck, media relations coordinator, University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Even at universities like Thompson Rivers University, situated in Kamloops (an interior area of British Columbia province), there are international students from more than 80 countries.
Besides many part time jobs available for students, many colleges and universities offer paid or unpaid internships for a few months during the length of the program, especially in post-graduate programs like MBA.
Sheldon Dookeran, assistant director, full time MBA admissions, Rotman School of Management, says, “Students who complete a full time program of study longer than eight months and less than two years can receive a work permit lasting just as long as the program lasted. Better yet, students who complete a program of two years or more in length, such as an undergraduate degree or an MBA, can receive a three-year work permit, within which time they can then apply for PR, if they choose to stay longer. Canada is known for its quality education, cultural comfort and job opportunities. There are 31 student groups and clubs on our campus. Rotman’s strategic location in Toronto and recruiter reputation contributes to its 88% internship rate and 85% employment rate within three months of graduation.”
Many universities and community colleges accept applications on a rolling basis. This means that the admissions committee continues to make offers of admission to qualified applicants until a particular intake reaches its enrolment capacity. However, international students are advised to apply early as admission and scholarships grow more competitive around the second or third deadlines. The application deadline for many programs starting in September (fall) intake starts from the first week of February. At Thompson Rivers University, it starts from mid-May for the September intake. Schulich offers an India MBA program, too, which starts in January and the application deadline for which is November 1.
“All Canadian universities/community colleges have intakes in August/September. Some also provide January/February or May intakes. Few community colleges have three to four intakes in a year. The certificates are usually categorised into certificates, diploma, advanced diploma, bachelor’s degree, post graduate diploma, post graduate certificates, master’s degree and Ph.D. Some of the prominent courses at the graduate level are MBA, PGD in management, MS and LLB while at the undergraduate level; it is the Bachelor of Administrative Studies or Bachelor of Engineering,” adds Dutta.
Unlike India, Canada doesn’t have a central education system and hence is under the jurisdiction of each province. All major universities in Canada are publicly funded whereas the private universities are relatively new and usually offer undergraduate courses. There are approximately 92 universities and 175 community colleges in Canada.
Some popular universities among international students:
- University of Toronto
- York University
- McGill University
- University of Alberta
- University of British Columbia
- Queen’s University
Some popular community colleges among international students:
- George Brown
Cost of education – The fees ranges from CAD6,000 to CAD30,000 per year. Usually the universities are more expensive than community colleges. Getting admission in a university is comparatively more difficult than community colleges. Also, most universities accept a minimum of 16 years of education while most community colleges accept 15 years of education.
Canadian visa – The earliest a student can apply for student visa is six months before the start date of the course. The processing time for student visa ranges from 15 days to 30 days for Student Partners Program (SPP) or regular visa respectively. It is recommended to apply for student visa as soon as the student gets the unconditional offer from the university/community college.
Source: www.guardian.co.uk via PwC – EdLive
A sharp increase in student visas popular with English language learners coming to the UK to study has raised concern that bogus applicants could be abusing the visa system to enter the country. The latest official statistics on migration to the UK show a sharp rise in the number of student visitor visas (SVV), which allow entry for up to 11 months but which are easier to obtain than the long-term student visa, known as Tier 4. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) report on migration figures published last month revealed that applications for SVVs rose by 12% to a record 67,000 in the 12-month period ending September 2012. In contrast Tier 4 visas issued in the same period dropped by 26% to 211,000. Education providers in the UK say that the fall is a result of tighter rules for Tier 4 applicants introduced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in recent years. But a separate report by John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector, Borders and Immigration, into the management of student visas by UKBA, published in the same week as the ONS statistics, calls on the government agency to monitor SVV numbers for possible abuse. The report highlights a significant change in student visa trends. Between February and May 2012 for the first time more SVVs were issued than Tier 4 visas. The report says that this change was a result of a sharp fall in Tier 4 applications possibly linked to the introduction of further visa rule changes. But the trend in SVV applications is also increasing year-on-year observed Vine.
The English language schools and colleges in the UK, which are the destination for most SVV holders, and which rely on SVVs for a significant part of their revenue, now fear that their business will suffer if the UKBA tightens SVV rules. Tony Millns, Chief Executive, English UK, the industry body which represents English language providers, says that the rise in SVVs should be seen as an endorsement of the UK’s English language teaching expertise and not as a threat.