Dubai: After Canada announced a two-year student visa cap, UAE-based school students and their parents have already started exploring university options in other countries.
Education consultants have also started giving alternate solutions to students who want to study abroad. Eastern European countries are fasting catching the attention of parents whose children are graduating high school from UAE this year and applying for university studies abroad. Germany is also a destination on the radar with parents as it promises future for students after their undergraduate programme with job opportunities, permanent residence and citizenship, said industry experts and parents living in the UAE.
Expensive vs affordable options
Dr Mohammed Yousuf Qadri, CEO of Qadri International Educational Consultancy in Dubai, said: “There is no dearth of higher education options for UAE students. For those who can afford an expensive education, the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand top on the list. Those looking at affordable options for university studies are looking at Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic. Italy and Spain are good choices as well but language is an issue as most courses are not in English.”
Canada student visa cap
Dr Qadri’s comments came against the backdrop of Canada announcing a two-year cap on new international student permits after a massive growth in recent years created housing shortage. Canada on Monday announced an immediate, two-year cap on international student permits and said it would also stop giving work permits to some students after graduation as it seeks to rein in record numbers of newcomers seen aggravating a housing crisis. The cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits in 2024, a decrease of 35% from 2023, according to a statement from the immigration ministry.
“In Western Europe, Germany is an attractive option as there is a greater likelihood of students graduating from Germany and finding jobs. The offer of permanent residence and citizenship makes it all the more a viable option,” said Dr Qadri, whose company has helped more than 70,000 students from UAE get admissions abroad since it was set up in 1986.
Qadri said parents with higher affordability can undoubtedly do explore options for universities in UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand if they feel Canada is not an option for them anymore.
Pakistani expat Nyle Ahmed Khan, 17, a Grade 12 student in Dubai who only applied to Canada’s Waterloo (Ontario), Western University — a public university in London, Canada, and University of Toronto, said. “I am not too worried about the recent announcement. There are plenty of options available to apply into universities across the world. I have given my IELTS, SAT exams. I will also be doing Advanced Placement (AP) tests which will give me more choice to apply to universities. I have been hearing about great options in Eastern Europe. Germany too is looking so attractive. I am very hopeful about my future.”
Indian expat mother Priyanka Khare has thought well before narrowing down her son Vedant’s undergraduate studies. “There are a number of options my husband and I weighed in on. But we are down to sending our son to a top university in India. For one the quality of education is very good in India and it is very affordable also. Keeping this in mind, we have decided to send Vedant to India.”
Vedant Khare will be applying to universities across India for courses in Business Management and B.COM Honours.
American expat Rhea Visaria, 17-year-old student at a Dubai school said that US, UK and Singapore were high on her radar while applying to Universities this year. “As an American citizen, I am strongly looking at the US universities for my undergraduate studies. Having said that, the UK and Singapore were attractive options as well. Though UK is a bit more cost effective than studying in US, I would choose to study in US because of flexibility of courses. Singapore is another place I looked at seriously for quality education and different exposure..
Meghna Khan, Career Coach and Founder of MK Counselling Services in Dubai, said that traditionally, UK, the US and Canada have been top three trending countries for higher education for UAE students. “But with Canada reducing the international student permits by 35 per cent, it will have a huge impact on UAE students applying to universities this year. Australia, Germany, the UK, and Eastern European countries are expected to see increased interest from UAE students while India remains a favourite destination owing to the large Indian diaspora in UAE,” noted Khan.
She added that Germany, Poland and Malaysia stand out over other options currently in terms of affordability.