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Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 15; April 28, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Ontario government wants PhD foreign students to stay

Abroad Perspective

Crunching China’s overseas student numbers.

Over The Counter

Canada wanted ? Just say “I do”.

The Edge

Opportunity Canada ? Not so fast.

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Ontario government wants PhD foreign students to stay

As part of the province of Ontario’s new Open Ontario Plan which is designed to attract 50 percent more international students in the coming five years, foreign students who earn a PhD from an Ontario university will be fast-tracked for permanent residence status.

Previously, only graduates with a job offer qualified to be fast-tracked under the Provincial Nominee Program. Under the new program, foreign students would qualify for the fast-track program without a job offer.

Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration commented that as today’s economy is innovation-based the decision benefits all: foreign students, Ontarians and Ontario’s economy.

Similar measures to retain foreign graduates have been implemented in New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba commented Ms. Jennifer Humphries, Vice-President of the Canadian Bureau for International Education. Ms. Humphries added that Canadian provinces need to have a cohesive strategy and brand if they want to raise their international profiles.

Source: “Ontario modifies residency rules to attract foreign students.” The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Crunching China’s overseas student numbers.

A report from China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) highlights why China is the most sought after study-abroad market in the world (along with India, the two great global battlegrounds for study-abroad).  A total of 229,300 Chinese went overseas for study in 2009, up 27.5 percent year from the previous year, according to China’s MOE. Among them, about 92 percent were funded privately, the rest received national scholarships or were funded by companies and organizations.

From 1978 to the end of 2009, the number of Chinese either studying or finished studying overseas, surpassed 1.62 million, of which 62.3 percent had returned home.

The growing desire to study overseas has benefited from increasing family incomes and an appreciation of the Chinese yuan, as well as an inefficient Chinese higher education system, educators and parents have said.

Approximately 1.4 million people wrote the IELTS examination in 2009, 300,000 of whom were Chinese – an increase of 40,000 from the previous year – according to statistics from the British Council in China. Meanwhile, the number of applications to sit TOEFL exams in China also jumped 30 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to the China Business News. 

The 15th China International Education Exhibition Tour, an annual official fair introducing overseas high schools and colleges to Chinese students, was held in late March in Beijing ahead of a predicted “good year for the industry”.

According to a survey released by Sina.com, 90 percent of the “post-90s generation” considers studying abroad. The Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, the organizer of the exhibition, said Beijing topped the list last year of desirable cities in the mainland for returning overseas students.  During the exhibition, colleges from United States, UK, Canada, Australia, France and New Zealand were present to talk with students and parents. They remain as the main target countries for Chinese students.
 

Sources: 

“Nearly 30% more Chinese go overseas for study in ’09.” China Daily, March 12, 2010.
“Foreign entrance Exams gain popularity.” China Daily, April 20, 2010.
“Overseas universities begin tour.” China Daily, March 15, 2010.

3) OVER THE COUNTER – Canada wanted ? Just say “I do”.

With business booming for Indian brides and grooms looking for a ticket to Canada, there should be no surprise that in the Indian state of Punjab, putting down only $20,000 CAD for fake academic documents, or fraud banking statements, or even paying an advance of a tuition fee deposit, is still a good deal to buy a visa for Canada. One of the driving forces which fuels the growing interest in Canadian student applications from Punjab is the domestic market for visa fraud. Going as a student, instead of a spouse, is a much better deal.

In the April 23rd issue of The Times News Network (TNN) in India, the following was a sample reported in its Times of India newspaper regarding just three advertisements for Indo-Canadian marriages in its Punjab editions.

1. Court marriage partner sought for Canadian Jat (Sikh) widower, 62. Contact soon.
“
2. Above 40 contact for court marriage with Canadian citizen, 60, divorcee woman.
“
3. Canadian citizen, Jat Sikh, two girls and a boy, seek partners for court marriages.

The reporter for TNN followed up and writes:

In one case, a woman who took the call and claimed to be a relative, quoted a price of 2,500,000 rupees for the alliance (approx 60k CAD). “There is no possibility of a permanent marriage. It is being done for the sake of money only, she said

When contacted, another man revealed that he was running a marriage bureau in Barnala and that one girl is in Surrey and is demanding 4,200,000 rupees (approx 100k CAD). The boys are settled in Toronto and Vancouver, and want 3,200,000 rupees each (approx 75k CAD).

4) “THE EDGE” – Opportunity Canada ? Not so fast.

All of a sudden there’s been plenty of Canadian media coverage about bringing foreign students to Canada. What happened ? Did our sleepy little industry get a wake up call?

Not so long ago, Canadian stakeholders were dressing up international student recruitment under vague banners of “internationalization” or “campus enrichment”. No more. Now, the sense is, to talk dollars.

Even provincial premiers are making no bones about their appetite for the potential cash streams international students offer.
Opportunity Canada ?
Not so fast.

First of all, Canada has a long way to go to brand itself as a major study-abroad destination. You can’t just step out from two decades of spectating to playing, and then winning in the Big Leagues. Canada is so far behind it’s like starting the third period down a dozen goals. Canada’s goal, should be recognition as a significant competitor and maintaining its self-respect in an industry that is fraught with abusive practices by considerable numbers of education agencies, purported students, and institutions alike.

The recent student exodus from the southern hemisphere (Australia is no longer seen as inviting for foreign students) does not mean they can all just go north. Not unless Canada is looking for a work force of dishwashers and taxi drivers. The fact is that perhaps 10% of those on student visas to Australia are even admissible to a Canadian university. More can go to Canadian colleges, but Canada is not the same easy visa for pretending to be a student and actually looking for ten bucks an hour (and as many “hours” as possible).

The UK has its own problems with too many people posing as foreign students, and it has hung out a “Closed” sign out front in many places around the globe which had once been rich student recruiting grounds.

So has Canada been called up to the Big Leagues ?
Yes and No.
Yes, in that there are more folks looking at options beyond Australia and England.
No, in that Canadian universities are only minor league as recruiters, but major league in academics, so their interest is only in a small piece of the potential pie – that is very good students.

Based on the past, Canadian interest will wane, and the Aussies and Brits will take their licks, regroup, and soon be back at the front of the pack. History is not always a useful predictor of the future, and time will tell if Canadian institutions will play well, play clean, and command a reputation as a major player in the international student recruitment arena.

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