Emerging overseas study destinations for Indian students

By Gurinder Singh Bhatti:  Over the past decade, access to higher education has been bade easier for students across India. Many students in the country now have multiple opportunities to fulfil their higher studies. Some have even started to pursue higher education in a foreign country in search for better opportunities that could help shape their career later.

According to the Indian Students Mobility Report published in 2016, the number of international students from India crossed 3, 50,000 back in 2015, and is expected to increase over the next couple of years. In fact, the number of Indian students exploring opportunities in the top 5 destination countries for higher education – the United States, Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand, grew by over 17.8 per cent in 2015.


However, owing to recent global developments, the changing preferences for studying abroad is becoming quite evident among Indian students. Let us explore how:

H1B Visa crack down by Trump administration – How can it affect Indian students In the USA: Ever since Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States in January 2017, the future of the Indian diaspora community living and/or studying there has been a topic of concern. The H1B Visa that allows US based employers to hire employees from other countries on a temporary basis for specialty occupations. However, according to the Trump administration, the H1B visa will now be reformed in a way that it benefits American workers more. Driven by an ‘America First’ approach, the new president is focusing on information Technology-based outsourcing companies, and is hoping to change visa regulations that can favor applicants who are highly skilled and have a high pay scale.

Following this, many Indian students have now begun to actively avoid studying or pursuing a career in the US due to fears regarding their safety or deportation. Instead, most students are now trying their chances at the US’s neighboring country Canada for higher studies. In fact, it is now the most favored destination for students from India due to the Canadian government’s relatively hassle-free student visa rules. Moreover, in the backdrop of strong message sent by the Trump administration against immigration, the North American country has become even more welcoming to students from all over the world, and is seeing a bump in number of applications received from international students for admission in Canadian universities.

UK losing sheen as prominent education destination for Indian students post Brexit: Among the top 5 education destinations in the world, the United Kingdom is currently witnessing a decline in number of international students from India owing to its recent exit from the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit. The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) states that the recent reforms in UK’s Visa has left many Indian students skeptical of going there to pursue higher studies as it can now get difficult for them to attain post study visa for work experience. Moreover, with increasing instances of racism and hostility towards students from India, many have now begun to look towards other destinations like Australia and New Zealand to fulfil their ambition of studying abroad.

How are Australia and New Zealand heading up to attract students from India? With the recent changes in Visa procedures across the US and the UK, most Indian students are now gradually shifting towards other prominent overseas destinations like Australia and New Zealand to pursue higher studies. Australia’s International Student Data monthly summary for February 2017 showed that the country witnessed 486,289 international enrolments during that period. Among them, 54 per cent of international students were found to be from China (30%), India (11%), Malaysia (5%), Vietnam (4%), and Nepal (4%). Following Brexit, the country has overtaken the UK as the second most preferred destination among Indian students for pursuing higher education.

The same goes for its neighboring country New Zealand, which is another popular overseas education destination for students from India. Consider this: Indian students comprise the 2nd largest number of international students in New Zealand. The country offers easy access to student visa, has state-of-the-art academic services, and additional benefits to international students, making it one of the most preferred destination for pursuing higher education.

Emerging nations in Europe where Indian students are increasing their presence: Some Indian students hoping to study abroad have now started to seek opportunities at various European countries. These days, while France and Germany are the most popular countries among international students, Scandinavian countries in the northern part of the continent like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are also gaining prominence among Indian scholars. Ireland is also emerging as one of the top overseas education destinations among Indian students.

Going by aforementioned facts, it is evident that Australia, New Zealand, and certain European countries are fast emerging as prominent overseas study destinations for Indian students – providing them with the right opportunities to succeed in their chosen career.

About the Author: Gurinder Singh Bhatti is Chairman & Managing Director – ESS Global. ESS Global Private Limited is a consultancy firm that provides recruitment services for students who wish to study abroad. Incepted in 2013, the company focuses on recruiting students for studying abroad across various destinations like Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, etc. and partners with various prestigious universities &colleges in these locations.

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