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### Impact of New International Education Policies on Study Abroad Demand in Australia, Canada, and the UK

New developments concerning international students in the UK, Canada, and Australia are already exerting a significant influence on the demand for studying in these countries.

A recent survey by IDP, titled “The Voice of the International Student,” conducted in January 2024 across 67 countries with a sample size of 2,500 students, reveals that many students are reassessing their plans to study in these countries. The survey suggests that the US is gaining traction in terms of student interest.

Concurrently, research by Studyportals released this month indicates a substantial decline in prospective student demand for Canada, while interest in the US has seen a significant upsurge in 2023. Italy and the Netherlands have also witnessed increased popularity, although interest in the Netherlands might soon wane due to efforts to reduce international student numbers and English-taught programs.

Demand for bachelor’s and master’s programs across six study destinations from 2019 to 2024 is illustrated in a Studyportals source.

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According to IDP’s survey, nearly half of the prospective students (49%) are reconsidering or uncertain about their plans to study in the UK. Significant portions are also hesitating to pursue education in Australia (47%) and Canada (43%).

Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, emphasizes that students are acutely aware of policies that could impact them in destination countries. He states that international students are closely following discussions on policy changes, influencing the attractiveness of the top global study destinations during a period of intense competition.

The research by IDP indicates that the US is emerging as the preferred destination for students contemplating alternatives to the UK, Australia, or Canada.

Emmett highlights that students seek certainty when making decisions about studying abroad. The shifting stances of the British, Canadian, and Australian governments towards international students are creating uncertainty among students.

The Studyportals research reveals that student interest in Canada has been on a downward trend, particularly in British Columbia, the province with the second-largest international student population after Ontario.

Data from Studyportals also indicates a decrease in demand from key source countries, notably India (-40% between February 2023 and January 2024). Various factors, including visa processing delays and changing perceptions, contribute to this decline.

Canadian undergraduate programs are expected to be most affected by the two-year cap on new international student permits, whereas master’s and PhD programs may not face as severe repercussions due to exemptions from the cap. Demand for Canadian PhD programs has been steadily increasing according to Studyportals data.

Kim Loeb, Executive Director at the University of Winnipeg (PACE), stresses the importance of effective communication amidst these changes. Canadian institutions need to convey a clear message that they remain open to international students, emphasizing that graduates from public institutions are still eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

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