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New horizons: What do changing visa and work norms mean for Indian students?

As the US and UK become less appealing, a look at countries that offer eased norms, special provisions for the study-abroad student.

education Updated: Aug 03, 2018 15:32 IST
Lavina Mulchandani
Lavina Mulchandani
Hindustan Times
Study abroad consultants in Mumbai,Career counsellors,Visa rules for USA

Changing student visa policies and norms for work permits have made things more complicated for youngsters looking to study abroad.

Once the go-to destination for Indian students, the US has retained the three-year work permit for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students, “but for other courses, getting a work permit there is not guaranteed anymore,” says education consultant Karan Gupta. The UK also now has less than two dozen universities where a graduation comes with a brief work permit.

“The way to make the most of the overseas programmes is to research your options well, and contact teachers and administrators at institutions you wish to apply to,” says Gupta. “This year, for instance, countries such as New Zealand and Canada are easing visa and work permit rules.”

Other increasingly popular options include Spain, Italy, and Japan.

“Spain has started offering entrepreneurship visas for foreign students,” says Natasha Chopra, study abroad consultant. “It does not require you to have any funding, just an idea that is capable of generating jobs there. You also now can work on your dissertation after your degree and take a job till you complete it.”

Canada’s Immigration division, meanwhile, has a new programme called the Student Direct Stream, under which a student can get study permits within 45 days instead of the previous 60-day wait. “The number of institutes you can apply to has also increased,” says Gurinder Bhatti, chairman and managing director of study abroad consultancy ESS Global. “You can apply for additional work permits too. If you study here for months, you get a work permit for eight months, if you study for two years or more, you get a three-year work permit, and you can apply for and get additional permits beyond that too.”

Studying in New Zealand is becoming attractive because of increased ease in applying to universities and getting visas, availability of specialised courses and work opportunities. Canada and New Zealand both offer specialised courses in fields such as human-computer interaction and big data. With scholarships from universities, you get specialised degrees, internship opportunities and placements.

Universities in New Zealand now have tie-ups with multinational companies and this makes finding a job easier too. They also offer multiple intakes for both undergraduate and Masters programmes and hence are beginning to see an average 5% increase in the number of new visa applicants every year.

Getting a job in New Zealand is easier if you build contacts while you are studying there, say former students. “I started interacting with all the customers who came to the export firm I worked with while I was pursuing my MBA in logistics from Newton college,” says Shashank Joshi, 28, now a logistics manager based in Auckland. “I got a job through a contact I made there. They actually need eligible workers here. You just need to check the right boxes. Expenses are relatively low and earnings are high. You also get permanent residency easily.”

It is also important to remember that paperwork is only the first step, educationists caution. It may be possible to apply for a job, but getting one is another matter. “I got an internship easily because the universities have tie-ups with companies,” says Nikita Asrani, 21, a postgrad student in communication studies at Deakin University in Australia. “Getting a job remains a task. In my experience, locals get picked first. Those with permanent residency also fare better.”

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 19:04 IST