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  • If not US, Top 5 Countries for Students Hoping to Stay after Completing their Education

    If not US, Top 5 Countries for Students Hoping to Stay after Completing their Education
    Thursday, December 29, 2016

    The US has been the number one destination for International students and the numbers are as much as 1 million international students. According to the latest report by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, these 1 billion international students contributed $32.8 billion and supported more than 400,000 jobs to the U.S. economy during the 2015-2016 academic year.

    While there are some concerns as Donald Trump’s campaign has emerged as anti-immigration, and elements of anti-section of society, there can be a big difference between campaigning and what the reality is. In the end, Donald Trump is a businessman and time will tell whether indeed he will take actions which will affect revenues of as much as $32.8 billion which are an important revenue stream for the US economy. This is not forgetting the immense contribution that International students make not only to the classrooms but also to the local economy of each of the cities where they are placed.

    However, that doesn’t come without a saying that these concerns might have caused some apprehensions among the students who had planned to work in the US after studies. So, that leaves us to address the elephant in the room, ‘If not US, where?

    Keeping aside UK, let’s look at few other countries that are expected to cap in on International students. Based on popularity, the standard of education and work opportunities, the top 5 countries to study and work after completion of the course would be Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, and Germany in the same order.

    #1 Canada

    Canada’s immigration friendly work-permit program, Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), is the key attraction for international students looking to study and work abroad. Under the program, students can get upto 3 year work-permit depending on the study duration of the course; take up profession in any fields not limited to their study field. Once the student lands up a job, it becomes easy for him to apply for a Permanent Residence in Canada after six months under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

    In mid september this year, Canada’s Immigration Minister John McCallum also said “Canada is an aging country, so we need new young immigrants to support our economy and help make it grow”. As the Canadian government open its labour force to foreign students with an immigration friendly policy, easier process to gain permanent residence, this comes as a good news for international students who are looking to study and work after the course completion.

    The Canadian higher education system is known for its high-quality education that is focused on teaching and research quality. From its almost 100 universities, a quarter of them are listed in the world’s top universities. The cost of living in Canada is relatively affordable compared to the other western counterparts as cities like Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto makes it to the list of QS 2015 Most Affordable Student Cities.

    #2 New Zealand

    Proving itself as a great place to live and study, New Zealand has eight universities, all being listed on the QS World University Rankings; its higher education system is ranked 16th in the world (QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2016); and it is 4th safest country in the world.

    New Zealand's graduate pathway allows International students to apply for post-study work permit up to four years through its Post-study work visa (open) and Post-study work visa (employer assisted). In the open post-study work visa, graduates are eligible for twelve months work visa in a field related to their studies. The employer assisted post-study work visa is related to a specific job with a specific employer when the student is eligible for work permit up to three years.

    #3 Australia

    Ranked globally as one of the best countries for education, Australia is another hot-spot study destination for International students and Indian students in particular. In spite of the heavy tuition fees, its quality-education, top ranked universities and the high living standard puts the country on the top spot.

    After Australia reformed its post-study work visa in 2013, the country swung back into being the most prefered destination. Under its Temporary Graduate visa, students can apply for the Graduate Work stream that grants upto 18 months of work permit or the Post-study Work stream that grants upto four years of work permit.

    #4 Ireland

    Ireland recently initiated its growth strategy, “Ireland Educated, Globally Connected”, with an aim to expand its international education industry. Under this strategy, it intends to lure in more international students, and boost its revenue from international education from €1 billion to €2.1 billion by 2020.

    With India among its key target market, Ireland is definitely a study destination Indian students should watch out. The tuition fees in Irish Universities are significantly lower than the US or the UK and have the highest rate of International student satisfaction in Europe. It’s capital city Dublin is also among the best student cities in the world.

    Full-time students can apply for a part-time job, working up to 20 hours per week during term time, and 40 hours per week during vacations. Ireland's post- study work scheme, i.e. Third Level Graduate Scheme allows non-EU graduate students to remain in Ireland for 12 months and seek employment. The government plans to further amend this scheme under its latest growth strategy. 

    #5 Germany

    With two of its cities Berlin and Munich in the 10 best student cities in the world, Germany is another booming study destination. Germany’s policy of making undergraduate tuition fees at public universities free irrespective of nationality is another reason why International students are migrating to the country.

    Providing a solution to curb the high living cost, international students are permitted to take up jobs for 90 days each year without any work permit. According to its new legislation in 2012 for Entry and Residence of Highly Qualified Workers, international students are permitted 18 months stay in the country after graduation to look out for a job in their field of study. Under the same, students can directly apply for residence permit if s/he manages to find a job before his final exam. Students should, however, note that the jobs will only be there for those who have made an effort to learn the language and have at least B1 level language skills. While the Germans do speak English, it is important for the language to be spoken in the workplace and when you are living there.

    Another plus point is that, students can apply for a German residence or an EU Blue Card if he wants to work in different European Union countries (excluding the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland).


    Students and institutions alike can expect changing trends in the study abroad destination since big players like the US and the UK are speculated to see a drop in international students. Smaller countries might take a cue from Canada and attempt to relax their visa rules and cap in on the skilled workforce from what International students have to offer.

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