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Ireland extends ‘stay back option’ for postgraduates

In a move that will undoubtedly shore up Ireland’s positioning in the international education market and make the country more attractive to overseas students, the Irish government has agreed to allow international postgraduates to stay two years after finishing their degree.

The policy extends the Third Level Graduate Scheme for non-EU/EEA residents studying in the country to remain in Ireland to seek employment and apply for a Green Card or Work Permit after two years.

The new extension means that the ‘stay back option’ for students at level 9 or 10 of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications has now doubled from 12 to 24 months. Specifically, this will apply to those studying for a master’s degree, postgraduate diploma, doctoral degree or higher doctorate.

“It will reinforce Ireland in the minds of international students as a welcoming destination”

In a statement on the Education in Ireland website, the government said the move will “allow eligible graduates who have studied in Irish higher education institutions and whose award is granted by a recognised Irish awarding body at master’s or PhD level to remain in Ireland for two years to seek employment.”

The move has been anticipated since the launch of the International Education Strategy last year which, among other goals, promised to boost the revenue from international education from €1.5bn to €2.1bn by 2020 and set a 15% target for international students at tertiary level as well as a goal of 25% growth for ELT enrolments.

Some industry stakeholders were cautious in their response to the news, wanting to see more detail.

However, Sinéad Ryan, director of internationalisation at the office of the vice-president for global relations and Trinity College Dublin said: “We very much welcome this announcement, which follows on the commitment in the Government’s new international education strategy published last October.

It will reinforce Ireland in the minds of international students as a welcoming destination for world-class education, research and career opportunities.”

Netherlands: 38% of students remain five years after graduation

Over a third of all international students who graduated from Dutch universities have remained in the Netherlands five years later, according to a report from EP-Nuffic on the rate of retention of foreign students.

‘Welcome, to work’, produced in collaboration with Bureau Blaauwberg, found that the five-year stay rate of international students from the 2008/09 graduating cohort was 38%, higher than the global average of 25% recorded by the OECD.

Of that cohort, 71% are employed in the country, reflecting the efforts of national campaigns to train foreign talent to enter the labour market.

“Substantial numbers of students come here because of the quality and reputation of the education system, without even a thought of remaining in the Netherlands to work afterwards,” the report notes, but adds that the figures “suggest that a majority of graduates wish to seriously evaluate their prospects in the Dutch labour market, or for further study.”

Promoting the Dutch labour market to foreign graduates is a leading tactic in initiatives to retain students.

Of the 7,350 international students graduating in 2008, 70% were still in the country in October 2009 while two years on, 3,540 students, or 48%, remained.

“A majority of graduates wish to seriously evaluate their prospects in the Dutch labour market, or for further study”

Retention figures are higher among students outside of the EU and EEA, who have free access to the Dutch labour market, the report shows.

“Since [non-EEA students] have already made a big decision, it makes sense that they would put in more effort to stay on after graduation,” it says.

The number of international students has consistently risen in the Netherlands in recent years, with close to 90,000 international student enrolments in 2014/15, up from 70,389 the previous year.

The EP-Nuffic programme, Make it in the Netherlands, aims to show students the career opportunities available once they graduate.

The scheme’s efforts consist of bridging the divide between Dutch and non-Dutch students, helping to connect international students’ studies to a career path and making the Dutch language more attractive to learn for international students.

“An early acquaintance with the Dutch language is essential for a successful start in the domestic labour market,” the report notes.

“We’ve decreased this red tape around finding work and made sure that more information is provided in English”

The programme also aims to increase the scale of regional student retention campaigns, and reduce red tape for students who are looking for work.

“Where possible, we’ve decreased this red tape and made sure that more information is provided in English,” a spokesperson from EP-Nuffic told The PIE News.

“One of the main results was that the possibilities for the so-called ‘orientation year’ in which students are allowed to stay in Holland to look for work has been simplified and elaborated.”

The report also credits higher education institutions for the higher than average stay rate.

“When it comes to increasing the stay rate and retaining international students in the Dutch labour market, to date the institutions have taken the lead,” says the report.

It also makes recommendations of what more could be done to encourage international students to stay in the country post-graduation.

“Increased efforts would benefit, for example, from more regional collaboration and a comprehensive national, social and economic agenda,” the spokesperson said.

“Municipalities, businesses, not-for-profit organisations and higher education organisations should better exploit cross connections.”

Canada: international student study permits up 5.4% in 2015

The number of new study permits issued to international students in Canada increased by 5.4% in 2015, according to the latest figures published by the Canadian government, which also show that international students spend more than $11.4bn in Canada annually. However, growth in the number of study permits issued has slowed slightly over the last two years, the figures show.

The Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration showed that 125,783 new study permits were issued to international students last year.

Presented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the report also found there was a 6.4% increase in the number of student applications received in 2015 – to 187,968 – compared with the year before.

“International students spend more than $11.4bn in Canada annually”

“International students bring with them new ideas and cultures that enrich the learning environment within Canadian educational institutions,” the report said.

“They also make a major economic contribution – international students spend more than $11.4bn in Canada annually.”

This figure represents a significant bump from the $8bn annual spend estimated in the 2014 report.

The department minister, John McCallum, said in the report that temporary immigration represents a “significant contribution” to the country’s economy and labour market.

“Canada has always been a popular destination for students, workers and visitors from around the world, and this popularity is growing at a remarkable rate,” he said.

The number of new study permits issued in 2014 increased by 4% from 2013, the previous year’s report announced, showing there was a greater increase last year. However, the growth is slightly lower than in 2012-13, suggesting growth has slowed slightly overall.

Growth in student applications has slowed more noticeably, from an 11.1% rise in 2014 to 6.4% increase in 2015.

Evidence of slowing international student growth was seen in research published by the Illuminate Consulting Group earlier this year. The report showed that the year-on-year rise in new enrolments in 2015 was less less than half the rate reported in 2014 and earlier.

The immigration report last year said IRCC processed over two million temporary resident applications and extensions, added McCallum, which represented “an increase of more than 18% over the previous three years”.

IRCC doesn’t set targets for temporary residents, according to a spokesperson at the department, and study permits are based on demand.

“By limiting the issuing of study permits to students destined only for institutions that have been designated by their provincial/territorial government, students around the globe have some assurance that they are enrolling in a legitimate school that is accountable for meeting certain standards,” she told The PIE News.

The immigration report also outlined that there were 5,829 holders of international study permits who transitioned to permanent residence last year.

“Former international students are also well-placed for success within Express Entry”

According to the IRCC spokesperson, almost a quarter (22%) of those applying through Express Entry (the route to permanent residence in Canada) had Canadian study experience.

“Former international students are also well-placed for success within Express Entry, given the particular attributes of international students including their education, possible Canadian work experience, strong official language skills and youth,” according to the spokesperson.

“A review of Express Entry is underway to see how it can be further improved for potential immigrants, including international students,” she added.

Earlier this year, the Liberal government announced it was taking steps to ease the process of international students becoming permanent residents by repealing a bill passed by the previous government.

“If I were asked what is the stupidest part of [Bill] C-24, I would say revoking the 50% credit for international students,” said McCallum in a speech at the time.

As a result, Bill C-6 reduced the period of residency to three years out of the last five, and restored residency credit for international students.

Last year, there were 271,845 permanent residents admitted to Canada, according to the report.

The target for admissions in 2017 is between 280,000 and 320,000.

The report also acknowledges that Canada welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees last year.

Nova Scotia invites students to Study and Stay

Nova Scotia has launched two initiatives aiming to entice international student to stay, work and possibly immigrate after they graduate, in order to shore up the province’s ageing and shrinking workforce.

The Stay in Nova Scotia and Study and Stay in Nova Scotia programmes will provide individual support to students who are interested in working in the province after graduation, including mentorship, career skills and help finding roles that match their specialisms.

The two pilot projects, each accommodating around 50 students across all levels of post-secondary study, were devised to help boost the retention of international graduates. Federal and provincial governments and EduNova, a cooperative representing all sectors of the province’s international education industry, have partnered to launch the initiatives.

The two projects were devised to help boost the retention of international graduates

An estimated 2-3% of students currently stay in the province post-graduation, despite research showing as many as 74% would like to, given the right opportunities.

A target to increase the number of students who stay to 10% was laid out in the landmark One Nova Scotia 10 Collaborative Action Plan, published in 2014.

Fifty-two students have been selected out of 150 applicants for the Stay in Nova Scotia programme, representing 24 countries across a range of disciplines. The goal is to have 80% of the cohort still in the province one year after completion of the programme.

The programme launched with a retreat, which included workshops on skills such as working with a mentor and how to approach employers.

From now until graduation, students will benefit from ongoing mentorship from business experts.

EduNova has also partnered with a private sector recruitment firm, Venor Youth Employment, which will help match international graduates with appropriate roles.

Participating students will also be provided with a job voucher that will offset the cost to employers of hiring an immigrant worker.

“We’re hopeful that being a bit more explicit and supportive in that area may help raise our profile in India”

An additional 50 students will begin their studies in Nova Scotia next year under the Study and Stay programme, designed as a route for prospective students who already aspire to remain in Canada after they graduate.

They will receive similar support to the Stay in Nova Scotia participants and complete experiential workplace learning.

In its first year, the Study and Stay programme will be open to students in China, India and the Philippines – countries with strong existing trade ties with the province (in the case of China) or where there is the potential to nurture newer relationships.

“We understand that the reason many Indian students choose to study in Canada is for their potential long-term work opportunities, and so we’re hopeful that being a bit more explicit and supportive in that area may help raise our profile in India,” noted Wendy Luther, CEO of EduNova, which is managing both programmes.

There are plans to roll out the two initiatives to a larger cohort of students if they are successful.

“That’s going to be our next challenge, addressing scalability, because what’s of utmost importance to us is that we are delivering on our promise that every student who gets selected gets very personal support and finds meaningful employment,” Luther said.


Rector of Osh State University K. Kojobekov, Dean of the Faculty of International Medicine J. Muratov met with foreign students studying at Osh State University. During the meeting they exchanged views on the current situation for students, the online learning process.

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, other tech companies join lawsuit against new student visa rule

Google, Facebook and Microsoft have joined a lawsuit filed by the Harvard University and the MIT against the ICE latest rule that bars international students from staying in the US unless they attend at least one in-person course.

More than a dozen top American technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, on Monday joined a lawsuit filed by the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) latest rule that bars international students from staying in the United States unless they attend at least one in-person course.

Seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, these companies, along with the US Chamber of Commerce and other IT advocacy groups, asserted that the July 6 ICE directive will disrupt their recruiting plans, making it impossible to bring on board international students that businesses, including amici, had planned to hire, and disturb the recruiting process on which the firms have relied on to identify and train their future employees.

The July 6 directive will make it impossible for a large number of international students to participate in the CPT and OPT programmes. The US will "nonsensically be sending...these graduates away to work for our global competitors and compete against us...instead of capitalising on the investment in their education here in the US", they said.

The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programme permits "alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education or other type of required internship or practicum offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with a student's school".

On the other hand, the Optional Practical Training (OPT) programme allows up to one year of temporary employment that is directly related to an international student's major area of study, which can occur either before the student graduates and/or after his studies are complete. Students in STEM fields may obtain a two-year extension of their post-graduate OPT, they said.

Closing off more than half of all international students from participating in the recruiting pipeline for American businesses will thus harm companies and the entire economy, and disrupt reliance expectations based on prior policies permitting international students to remain in the US, the firms said.

Asserting that international students contribute substantially to the US economy when they reside in the United States, the legal brief said the departure of these students threatens the ability of US educational institutions to sustain critical mass -- which they need in order to maintain their standards of excellence, to train the American students who will make up the talent pool available to amici and other US companies in the future, and to perform the research that keeps US businesses on the cutting edge of innovation.

"International students are an important source of employees for US businesses while they are students and after they graduate. Finally, they become valuable employees and customers of US businesses whether they remain in the United States or return to their home countries," the companies said.

According to the IT companies, international students residing in the US make a substantial contribution to the country's GDP and have a particularly significant impact in towns and cities where colleges and universities are located. During the 2018-2019 academic year, there were more than 10 lakh such students attending institutions of higher education in the US.

Reducing by half or more the number of international students residing in the United States -- even for a single school year -- will hurt the economy, amplifying the adverse economic effects of the ongoing pandemic. International students contribute billions of dollars to the US economy each year. In the 2018-2019 academic year alone, "international students at US colleges and universities contributed nearly USD 41 billion to the US economy and supported 458,290 jobs", the companies said.

Observing that for every seven international students living in the US, three jobs are supported due to their presence, the companies said international education "ranked as the country's fifth-largest service export" in 2019. Small businesses -- from coffee shops to bookstores -- in communities around the country benefit significantly from the presence of international students, they said.

The companies told the court that if these students are barred from studying in the US until the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic ends, many of them will not return: they will switch to programmes of study elsewhere in the world. And without international students, many the US STEM programmes will contract sharply and ultimately cease to exist.


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