In a dramatic shift, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are implementing stringent visa policies, creating a challenging landscape for Indian students aspiring to study abroad.
Australia’s Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan expressed concern over the overwhelming number of international students here in Australia. He told Sky News Australia, “Record numbers of international students are still coming. This is way too much. We are in a housing crisis, and rents have skyrocketed. People can’t even get to see doctors. Cities are getting crowded.”
Australia, a favored destination for Indian students, has now announced a more selective approach to issuing student visas. This includes reducing the validity of post-study work visas from three to two years and placing restrictions on changing courses during studies.
Dr. Abul Rizvi, an expert on migration in Australia, explained the rationale behind the policy shift, saying, “The migration policy during the COVID-era was based on retaining existing students in the country after borders opened, and simultaneously attracting a significant number of new students from abroad.”
As Australia grapples with these changes, similar policy shifts are unfolding in the UK and Canada, further impacting Indian students’ dreams of pursuing education abroad. In the UK, measures implemented in 2022 have led to a decrease in the total number of immigrants. The stringent restrictions extend to 2023, with limitations on bringing families for post-graduation, posing additional challenges for Indian students planning to study in the country.
Canada, which experienced a surge in international students over the last decade, is also tightening controls. The Immigration Ministry has declared a reduction in the number of international student visas for the year, and post-graduation work permits for various programs are being curtailed.
These changes in the Student visa policies are particularly impactful for Indian students, constituting the largest group of international students in these nations. In 2022, 41% of student visas issued in Canada were for Indian students, while approximately 40% of Australia’s total international student population in 2023 consisted of Indian students.
The evolving restrictions on visas, work permits, and family reunification collectively unravel the dreams of Indian students aspiring to pursue education and build a future in these countries. As the three major study destinations undergo policy transformations, Indian students find themselves facing challenges that may reshape their educational and professional journeys abroad.