Indian students planning to relocate to English-speaking countries may need to reconsider their plans, as both the UK and Canada have revised their admission rules for universities.
In December 2023, the Canadian government issued updated requirements aimed at enhancing the protection of international students. Among these changes, the most significant was the increase in the Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) amount from 10,000 Canadian dollars (approximately Rs 6.15 lakh) to over double the amount at 20,635 Canadian dollars (close to Rs 12.7 lakh). Additionally, Germany and Australia have also implemented gradual increases in the GIC amount by 10% annually.
As of May 2023, a minimum deposit of €11,208 is necessary when applying for a German study visa, according to the German Federal Foreign Office.
Let’s examine the visa alterations in other countries:
US: According to the US embassy in India, F, M, and J visa applicants must ensure the accuracy of their passport information during profile creation and visa scheduling. Failure to do so will result in appointment cancellations at visa centers.
Canada: Designated learning institutes (DLI) are now required to directly verify every applicant’s letter of acceptance with IRCC to combat acceptance fraud. This process aims to safeguard students and ensure that only those with genuine letters obtain study permits. Furthermore, Canada will review the criteria for post-graduation work permits. Moreover, the minimum cost of living requirements for students will increase from 10,000 to 20,635 Canadian dollars, effective January 1, 2024.
UK: The UK Visas and Immigration department has introduced significant changes, including modifications in fees. UK visa fees have risen from £363 to £490, marking a 35% increase. Additionally, revisions have been made to the Immigration Health Surcharge, which has increased from £264 to £1,035. Moreover, the UK has announced restrictions on international students from bringing dependent family members with them starting in 2024. The US sees over 7.50 lakh annual student arrivals.
Australia: Australia has raised the score requirement for a Test Graduate visa from IELTS 6.0 to 6.5, and for a student visa, from 5.5 to 6.0. International students must have savings of $24,505 as evidence to be eligible for a visa. Additionally, a two-year extension of post-study work rights is available for international graduates with select degrees in areas of verified skill shortage.
France: France has extended its post-study work visas for five years for master’s degree graduates. Moreover, those who have spent a semester studying in France for master’s degrees can now avail themselves of a five-year short-stay Schengen visa to explore job opportunities.
Ireland: International graduates with bachelor’s or master’s degrees are allowed to stay for two years on a post-study work visa in Ireland. PhD students can stay in the country for up to three years.
Italy: In Italy, students can stay even after completing their graduation for 12 months. Approximately 5,897 Indian students were in Italy in 2022 on study visas. The country also provides enhanced post-study internships and extracurricular internships, along with training to improve students’ experiences.
New Zealand: New Zealand has introduced the IELTS One Skill Retake option, providing students with flexibility to retake any of the four skills if needed.
The new visa policy put forth by the UK Immigration for foreign students will turn around the rules of the game. Students dreaming of working in the country after pursuing their degree can now thrive on this news. The UK Immigration will now extend the work visa by 2 years for foreign students. It is available to graduate and post-graduate international students. The students will be able to stay in the UK as long as 2 years to look for a job after the completion of their respective course.
Indian students have always looked for opportunities in the UK and this change in the policy sure will bring in several Indian students to the country. Maybe three to six months seemed enough but an extension of two years sure sounds attractive to the students from India.