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Indian students still keen on studying abroad despite strict visa norms, slowing economy

Posted on February 25, 2012
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Prashant Bhonsale, country head of Credila Financial Services, confirms the rising trend in the number of loan applicants. “In our experience the number of students applying to study abroad is rising. There is definitely an uptrend”

students-studying-abroadSigns of slowing global economy, strict visa norms in the UK with scrapping of student visa scheme and stringent immigration policies seem to have little impact on Indian students preferring to study abroad. While experts say that the overall market is down, statistics on loan applications and students taking GRE suggest otherwise.

“There has been 25%-30% decline in the market. We believe that there are many students who would still want to pursue higher education abroad owing to the quality aspect of learning. These changes also have to do with the economic cycle. If there is slowdown, students expect a boom period as well. Meanwhile, there are some universities which are also offering work as a part of the course,” Richard Lasrado, director, Education Abroad Counselling told Moneylife.

Prashant Bhonsale, country head of Credila Financial Services, a private lender specializing in education loans, confirms the rising trend in the number of loan applicants. “In our experience the number of students applying to study abroad is rising. There is definitely an uptrend.”

The US, UK and Canada are the preferred destinations for higher education among Indian students. The UK government last year announced a host of changes in the criteria for student visas. Accordingly, the Tier-1, or post-study route will be closed from April 2012. This route had provided students an access to the job market for two years after completing a course and allowed them to take up low-skilled jobs. As per the new rule, only graduates having an offer for a skilled job, with a minimum salary of 20,000 pounds a year from a sponsoring employer will be able to stay on and work, provided the job matches a student’s skills. The company, where the student would work, also has to be registered to accept overseas workers in the Tier-2 point system.

Reports confirm a 30% drop in the applications to study in UK, from Indian students and few students have also cancelled their plans. However, experts say many are still keen to go abroad for their education.

In fact, the GRE test, mandatory for students choosing to study in the US, has also seen a 43% rise in the numbers of students. From 47,276 students in 2010, it jumped to 67,605 students in 2011, surpassing the number of Chinese applicants.

Another Mumbai-based counsellor explains that other countries like the US and Canada will try to attract more students. “These numbers may not actually mirror the reality. But it clearly indicates the students’ choice. It is clear that students want to experience studying/working abroad. Apart from the US, UK, other countries like Canada, Australia and Singapore are also aggressively attracting students.”

Recently, Jim Nickel, deputy high commissioner of Canada, said that his country will welcome Indian students as part of strengthening its bilateral ties with India. He also informed that the numbers of Indian students have increased four times from only 3,000 in the past two years and around 50 Indian universities have already tied up with 35 Canadian universities for academic and research activities.

Meanwhile, British Council and Universities UK have opposed the changes in the visa rules, as it could impact the number of students going to the UK.

For more news and updates, assistance with your visa needs or for a Free Assessment of your profile for Immigration or Work Visa’s just visit www.y-axis.com

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