International graduates with the most dynamic prospects, better employment opportunities, and attractive packages define the future of Indian students studying abroad. Over the decade, Indian students seeking education abroad have increased steadily. And though it isn’t exactly a new trend, many renowned Indians have pursued the path of overseas education and won laurels for their countries.
Foreign universities have initiated several remarkable adjustments to woo Indians by simplifying the admission process and streamlining the documentation procedures. This ensures that many more students can now continue their education in leading countries such as Canada, the U.S., the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and many more.
Data between 2016 and 2021 shows how the number of Indian students admitted to foreign universities has shaped over the years:
2016 – 3, 71,506
2017 – 4, 56,823
2018 – 5, 20,342
2019 – 5, 88,931
2020 – 2,59,655
2021 – 4,44,553
From a time when the number of Indian students opting to move abroad did not exceed 60,000, to now, India has become one of the most significant sources of students in foreign countries. India has an estimated standing of 10.9 lakh students, followed by China.
Studying abroad – Opportunities and more
The pandemic has its positive as well as negative effects on Indian students planning their overseas education. The positive outcome has been the relaxing of visa norms and easing of restrictions by countries to recover their education sector came as a boon for the student community.
One of the essential factors in choosing their study destination for the students today in a post- COVID scenario is how those areas fared in the handling of cases, vaccination drives, and how those governments supported their residents/citizens. And this factor has played out with the UK, Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. being countries where Indian students have shown more interest in pursuing their studies. This is primarily because of the support students received during the pandemic. Revised admission requirements, availability of post-study work permits, comprehensive vaccination policies, flexible visa norms, etc. are also crucial determinants for students when choosing a country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every sector, and education is no exemption. We see Indian students seeking countries with safe and stable government policies, better pandemic management, university life, opportunities for permanent settlement, etc. Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the U.K. figure high on this list. Factors such as employability, career aspects, and exposure to global competition are also some key factors influencing a student’s decision to study abroad.
Where are most Indian students heading to in 2021-22?
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom unveiled a post-study work permit for students enrolled in 2020 or to extend their stay for two years after completing their studies and searching for jobs. Many countries made several adjustments in their visa guidelines. Policy changes from the U.K. government, in coming time, are expected to present rewarding opportunities and career options for Indians who wish to pursue overseas education.
With affordable education in the world’s renowned universities, adequate job opportunities, various study options, and post-graduation work opportunities, Canada is a favourite. A recent survey in 2021 from Q.S. International revealed that 65% of Indian students find Canada the best place to study. In particular, Canada permitted existing study/work permit holders to travel to the country after borders were closed. It also provided international students access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and maintained clear communication.
New Zealand was the first country to grab everyone’s attention by containing its COVID-19 cases and keeping it at 0. Although the country had a mixed reputation for studying abroad, the heroic act displayed by New Zealand’s healthcare sector has been commendable. The way forward with education holding the key to the future, the prospects of Indian students studying abroad look promising in the following ways :
More post-study work opportunities
Benefits of increased visa relaxations and improved visa guidelines
Indian government empowers the youth population by encouraging them to study
Access to the best education
As Indian students plan for overseas studies, this is the possibly best time to explore foreign universities and understand what is on offer. The future looks bright as countries have reopened their borders and recognised international degrees. For students planning a life in a foreign country, there are endless pathways that offer a permanent settlement today.
Ajay Sharma is President, and Founder, Abhinav Immigration Services.
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