Dubai: The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Monday welcomed the UAE Cabinet’s decision to grant five-year visas to foreign students in the country.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dr Warren Fox, chief of higher education at KHDA, said that Dubai is a popular education destination for international students and extended visas will further enhance the emirate’s position as a hub of higher education.
“We are expecting significant growth in the number of students coming to study in UAE. This decision will not just benefit UAE economy, but also help higher education institutions and students. It is a win-win situation for everyone as you can now complete your education and explore future prospects,” Fox said.
He added that the extension of residency visas for dependent students is a step in the right direction and it will help further KHDA’s efforts to strengthen human capital and support UAE’s knowledge economy needs.
“Dubai is already home to more than 30,000 university students and this number continues to grow each year. We attract international students and this in line with Dubai’s strategic goal to be a quality higher education hub for the region,” Fox added.
He said Dubai is equipped to handle an influx of international students.
“The presence of successful branch campuses in Dubai has allowed students from the wider region to access international programmes. Student enrolment numbers have grown 10 per cent in the last decade and over 40 per cent of all students in Dubai currently study at international campuses, which reflects Dubai’s appeal as an attractive higher education hub,” Fox said.
He also anticipated a growth in the number of universities over the next few years.
“We continue to attract some of the top universities in the world. There will always be space for educational offerings which focus on innovation, change, social and economic progress, and employer needs and demands,” he said, adding that the decision to extend student visas will incentivise higher education institutions to work towards attracting more students to Dubai.