A perfect theory till NZ played spoiler. I present my “cut and paste” hypothesis suggesting that immigration policies are being copied from one nation to another.
There was a time when the immigration policies, post study work and part time privileges varied from one country to another. These gave certain competitive advantages to each other. Even within UK there was a difference in post study work opportunities between Scotland and England. While there is no real reason to believe that those differences harmed anyone, over the last few years, too-frequent exchanging of notes and aping of regulations has not just led to similar and sometimes exactly-same privileges being offered by one and all.
Australia offered part time work permission for 20 hours per week and the UK started copying that. NZ and others too followed each other. Ireland and Canada introduced work permission and what was exactly-same was the number of hours each of them allowed the students to work during the study semester.
Then arrived the post-study-work privileges. Scotland introduced the Fresh Talent Initiative allowing students to work for 2 years post study. No just rest of the UK followed course, even Australian experts who often precede others in their initiatives, found logic in it to introduce a 485 subclass visa for graduating students to gain experience post their studies with an option to move on to other more permanent visa categories. NZ too around the same period introduced a job search visa that allowed students to find a job and then get a work permit. Canada too has a work permit though often that route is taken as a pathway to permanent residency. The OPT (Optional Practical Training) option in USA offers roughly the same goal. Hence the students had an option to gain some experience even without the permanent residency option.
The speeches of the immigration ministers too seem to be a cut and paste jobs.
“We have been clear that we will do nothing to prevent those coming here to study degree level courses and will protect our world class academic institutions above and below degree level. So the universities, all of whom are highly trusted sponsors of foreign students, should not worry. We want to make sure that every student who comes to this country is a legitimate student following a legitimate course.”
“Stricter control will be in the best interest of legitimate students. Some of those who come to study at less reputable institutions are genuinely in search of education which they do not receive. They may have been misled by questionable agents overseas or by these colleges.”
I will not be surprised if any of you assume the above to be from the speech of the Australian Immigration Minister. The reality is that this is an extract from his UK counterpart and that too very recently. The same content and very similarly drafted.
Not just them even media is ensuring generalizations. The quickest scapegoats they find in any conflict related to international students to be the education agents. The recent hungama over the US’s Tri Valley University scam once again got the agents to be seen in bad light for no fault of theirs. Now there is sufficient evidence that most of the students who ended up in Tri Valley were not recruited or counseled by agents in India at all but had moved from other institutions in USA exploiting loopholes in the system. The visa office too had bungled in some cases in giving the visas. Anyway, media and also some experts targeted agents and suggested that Indian Government should regulate dodgy agents.
In cricket, New Zealand has a reputation at being spoilers even if they cannot win. My theory too promoting a flat world was spoiled by this beautiful island nation. It is a delight to read the statement of NZ Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman of yesterday.
“Not only does New Zealand gain from the economic benefits of having them study here, many international students stay on providing longer-term benefits by contributing their skills to our workforce and economy,’’ Dr Coleman says.
‘’Another plus for fee-paying foreign students is the recent introduction of interim visas which allows them to continue studying while applying for visas to further their studies. This will smooth the enrolment process for education providers.’’
The press release goes on to say: Students from India had the highest rate of transition to work (72 percent) followed by students from China (43 percent). Similarly, students from India also had the highest rate of transition to permanent residence (47 percent), followed by students from China (23 percent).
The research also found 68 percent of former international students were in fulltime employment 18 months after gaining permanent residence. Nearly one-third – 31 percent – worked in professional occupations and 62 percent worked in a skilled job.
Full text on this link.
While Minister Coleman may have played spoiler to my “cut and paste” theory, he has indeed re-established NZ’s reputation at being a thinking country and one that avoids aping other nations.
Whether right or wrong, it is indeed ensuring that our world is not totally flat. We don’t know the future though.