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Covid-19 Impact on Student/Education Visas

Introduction

Covid-19 has disrupted the world economy, crushing almost all operations to a stop. This also affects the education sector, which has been impacted on different grounds. Initially, the total percentage of students spending on overseas education dropped. The government bodies of several nations, however, have now come ahead with measures to help students achieve their dreams.

Amid this entire crisis, an enormous number of alluring scholarships are introduced by many institutions, which indicates the perfect time to apply in monetary terms. The most impressive feature is that some institutions have also implemented the option to reimburse the money if the visa is rejected.

According to a recent survey, the number of students who would still like to go ahead with their study visa applications for the next intake session is quite high. The countries which are most preferred are Canada, UK, Australia, Europe, and the US.

Effect on foreign students

Different institutions across the world have taken various measures to combat the effect of this pandemic. For example, many universities in Australia have arranged for an e-learning platform where learners can complete either the full or half semesters from their own location. The added advantage of this convenient choice is that post-study job privileges will not be oppressed by this feature. This indicates that online learning will be deemed as good as learning in Australia and the student will be entitled to his/her Post Study Work Visa.

In the last two decades, the number of students pursuing their education in Canada has almost tripled. The international students in Canada contribute to the economic growth of the country and bring fresh cultural ideas. These impacts have led to the implementation of several policies by the Canadian government to encourage more overseas students. However, due to the Covid-19 situation, it would be much more challenging for Canadian universities to attract and retain foreign students.

Currently, the Australian government intends to exempt foreign students from travel bans and permit them to come to Australia. Similarly, New Zealand, a country that has successfully controlled the virus outbreak, will have a higher probability to become a more attractive choice for foreign students.

In the case of the United States of America, the longer the country’s credibility is tainted by its infection approach, potential high risk of a second wave of diseases, and extremely strict limits on immigration, the more difficult it would be for the US to attract overseas students.

Visa regulations are also made strict amid the ongoing pandemic. The longer the crisis lasts, the more foreign students may alter their plans.

Measures taken by international institutes

  • Most universities and colleges have opted for online learning amid the ongoing pandemic.
  • Since the pandemic may have harmful effects on the mental health of foreign students, the institutions continue to offer online counseling. Various institutes provide free consulting by email and video calls to overseas students to overcome this challenge.
  • Extra laptop, computers, and Wi-Fi hotspots are allocated to students.
  • All sports and social activities are suspended by institutes.
  • Many universities have reduced their fee, enabling more foreign students to pursue their education abroad. For example, Australia is one such country to offer financial assistance and fee-waivers to aspirants seeking entry to study in the country.

The government in several countries is authorizing a minimal number of foreign students to apply for a student visa. Students who already hold a visa but are outside the country, where they are pursuing the education, are allowed to take online sessions. However, rules are not the same for all the countries.

For instance, to enter Canada, a foreign student should have a letter of introduction or a valid study permit illustrating that a study permit has been authorized. Students who fulfill this requirement will have to follow certain guidelines like negative Covid-19 test, mandatory quarantine, etc. Nonetheless, international students must consult with their respective institutes in the country for further guidelines.

Countries would revise their travel restrictions based on how best the Covid-19 pandemic is being handled in the country and around the world.

Summing up

Overseas students are already encountering difficult living conditions, particularly financial crises, at their respective study locations. Government measures like campus closing and lockdowns have also led these students to experience emotional distress and anxiety.

When international travel gets back in shape, countries that effectively handled the disease outbreak would definitely have an edge in attracting foreign students. In view of the uncertainties due to pandemic, more and more institutions are moving to online education. While it is tricky to see foreign student migration recover entirely under the present circumstances, it must be comprehended that over the last three decades, the number of student visa applications has risen steadily and reliably.

Although many may infer that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted their dream to study abroad, it is interesting to note that the applications to the foreign institutes have increased. Career prospects, experience, multiple course options, and a global perspective are few reasons why overseas education is still considered the preferred choice.