More Indian Students Moving Abroad for Higher Studies: Dubai Study

Over the next three years, more India students will be going abroad for studies, overtaking China, which has so far been the largest market for foreign universities, according to a new Dubai study.


Over the next three years, India could replace China as the fastest-growing international student target market for foreign universities, according to a Dubai study.

According to a report in Khaleej Times on the market research on transnational student mobility and university trends, which was done by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and BMI Media, foreign universities see India growing faster than even China in sending students abroad for higher education. The study spoke to 104 universities in 41 countries, most of which were from the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and the UAE.

“India and China have always been the leading market for international students coming to study here (Dubai). It could be due to different reasons – the visa process, the flexibility. We have a lot of Indian families that are living here, and their students are joining these universities, besides the ones that are coming from overseas,” Khaleej Times cited Mohamed Abdullah, managing director of DIAC as saying.

The study had asked universities to rank their top five countries by transnational student numbers. While China appeared on top with 17%, India closely followed at 16.8%. Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan were at 5%, 4.9%, and 4.8% respectively.

Abdullah told the publication that with the recent visa policy changes, UAE will become even more attractive for international students.

According to the publication, the UAE had recently announced that students that perform “exceptionally well” in UAE universities will be eligible for a 10-year residency visa while other students can receive a five-year visa. The UAE government also said that students who have a dependent visa will be eligible for an extension, so they can find employment opportunities in the Emirates once they graduate.

“The universities can benefit from these kinds of policies the government is implementing,” Abdullah told the publication.

About 14% of the universities that were surveyed reported a decline in international student numbers. Of this, 60% were American universities which said that due to current government policy, foreign students are no longer preferring American universities. However, the report said that international students still prefer studying in American universities.

On the other hand, Canadian universities have seen resurgence in international students. Universities in the north American country have seen over 11% growth. According to the report, the quality of education, and positive government policies have made Canada the fastest-growing major market for higher education.

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