Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
UK announces siege. British blockade to keep out student visas from north India. Is Canada the next best option?
Saudi Education expo ends with signing of many pacts
Uncle Jean Wants You !! Quebec calls Indians to study and live in the Province
Get travel advice without hidden agendas from social networking websites
Higher-Edge opens US recruitment office
1) LET’S GO CANADA – UK announces siege. British blockade to keep out student visas from north India. Is Canada the next best option?
Alarm bells are ringing in the United Kingdom as it seeks to cope with mounting student visa fraud. The UK has taken the drastic action this week of announcing it will refuse all student visas from north India. Most notably, the Indian state of Punjab, notorious for fraud, is singled out, as the UK tries to stem what it sees as a potential flood of non bona-fide students landing on British soil.
The cessation of student visa applications extends to Bangladesh and Nepal, both notorious markets for fraud and visa abuse.
The three UK visa centres in north India have seen the numbers of student visa applications increase by thirteen times in the last two years.
“Some applicants are trying to abuse the visa procedure to get entry into the UK for purpose other than studies. We cannot allow this to happen,” said Chris Dix, the regional director of the UK Border Agency.
Many commentators perceive the spike in student visa applications to the UK as a response to the violence against Indians in Australia (for more see our January 13th issue, “Indian students in Australia. Why it’s gone wrong.”) Britain is Australia’s rival in terms of study abroad promotion in India. The UK also courts Indian education agents as aggressively as Australia does.
“The measure is designed to protect genuine students, professional agents and good education providers from anyone who is not currently playing by the rules,” said British Deputy High Commissioner to India, Nigel Casey, this week in Delhi.
While the measure may be temporary, the problem is that “genuine students, professional agents and good education providers” are not common. They are far too small in number to feed the voracious appetites for revenues of Indian agents, British institutions, and the desire of thousands of north Indians to do what it takes to get out of their country.
As the UK chokes off student interest in the Punjab, and Australia remains an anxiety riddle for Indians, Canada is seen as an even more attractive choice. The problem previously has been Canada’s access to a student visa – much more difficult than the UK or Australia, in both perception and reality. However, the new Student Partners Program (SPP) is being heavily promoted by Indian agents, Canadian colleges and the Canadian government, as a bold new initiative to swell the numbers of Indian students in Canada. It was recently lauded by the federal government for its early success in 2009. No doubt in 2010, the pressure on Canada’s student visa gate keepers to identify fakes and frauds from genuine students, is going to intensify.
Sources: “UK student visa halt in north India”. The Telegraph India, January 31, 2010.
“U.K. suspends student visa applications from north India”. The Hindu, January 31, 2010.
2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Saudi Education expo ends with signing of many pacts
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) concluded its inaugural International Exhibition for Higher Education this past weekend. According to Mr. Ali S. Al-Attiyah, MOHE Deputy Minister and Organizing Committee Chief, the exhibition was attended by about 300,000 people who came to meet an estimated 340 universities from approximately 35 countries.
In 2009, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated one quarter of its annual budget for education and training. Therefore, one of the goals of this four-day event was to showcase MOHE education projects such as its scholarship program, which has been extended for another five years, and to provide opportunities to form and sign agreements between the MOHE and foreign universities.
One such memorandum of understanding is that between France’s Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB) and the Al-Yamamah University. According to Gael Fouillard, International Executive Education Manager of GGSB, the agreement includes a plan to send female students from Al-Yamamah University to Grenoble in July for a summer school program as well as a plan for GGSB to offer an MBA program at Al-Yamamah.
Interestingly, aside from the usual suspects: the U.K., U.S.A., Australia and Canada, the fair included several universities from emerging markets like China, India, Korea, Poland and South Africa. As a result of this high turnout rate, (due largely in part to Saudi Arabia’s decision to disallow all other local private education exhibitions in the coming years), Mr. Ali S. Al-Attiyah, has already announced next year’s event date – April 19, 2011.
Source: “Education expo ends with signing of many pacts.” Arab News, January 31, 2010.
3) OVER THE COUNTER – Uncle Jean Wants You !! Quebec calls Indians to study and live in the Province
Team Quebec, doing its best to win support and fans in India, has taken a bold step to attract international students to the province. As part of a provincial trade mission to India, Quebec Premier Jean Charest announced in Mumbai on Monday, that all international students graduating with a degree from a Quebec university will be fast-tracked to official resident status in Canada.
“Any student who secures a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from any university in Quebec will obtain a certificate of selection to become a citizen of Canada,” said Mr. Charest, as reported in the Times of India newspaper.
Each Canadian province can create special immigration opportunities, and Quebec has a history of taking the lead in the country.
“We have the right to select our own citizens. We are doing this because we have a shortage of skilled labor,” Mr. Charest said.
Quebec’s initiative takes advantage of the timing of the British decision to suspend student visas for the north of India starting February 1. North India is where Canada enjoys the most interest for study abroad. Quebec’s announcement also will be seen as welcome news for Indians discouraged from study abroad in Australia, but determined to obtain a degree, career, and citizenship status outside of India.
Source: “Soon, study in Canada & get ‘selection cert’ to be a citizen” Times of India, February 2, 2010
4) GLOBE TIPPING – Get travel advice without hidden agendas from social networking websites
There are many ways one can take advantage of social networking websites to ascertain travel tips from people without hidden agendas. Going online to plan one’s business trip or family vacation is not new. What’s changed is that before the rise of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter people could never be certain if information posted on travel websites like tripadvisor.com was a genuine customer review or a well crafted recommendation by the business owner.
According to Mary Madden, a senior researcher at the Pew Internet and American Life Project in Washington, D.C., social networking websites are a perfect fit for travel tips because they are based on the idea of sharing experiences which becomes a form of ‘social currency’.
In an era where there is too much information and very little time to keep up, Twitter has become the go to source for some hurried readers as tweets are limited to 140 characters. A website called twisitorcenter.com that lists hundreds of local tourism authorities around the globe leverages of Twitter’s popularity as it uses Twitter to help answer travelers’ queries.
To read more on social networking and how it can be used on your next trip, read the entire article here.
5) ANNOUNCEMENT – Higher-Edge open US recruitment office
With more than a dozen years in the business, 4,500 international students recruited, engagements with governments for market intelligence, and a global reputation for integrity – Higher-Edge officially opens its first US office in Fort Collins, Colorado. For more information, contact:
Country Director USA
Tel: (970) 214-3770