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Posted by : Shreya Bhattacharya

Author Designation : Senior Counselor

Explore New Horizons Countries with Updated Study Visa Policies for International Students

UK, Canada, Australia, France and a few more countries have brought changes in their immigration policies.


The number of Indian students heading abroad for higher education is increasing with every passing year. According to the latest Indian Student Mobility Report 2023 by Global Education Conclave, around 1.3 million Indian students are studying abroad in 2023.

Post pandemic many countries have reported a spike in international students’ immigration due to which they are facing multiple issues like accommodation. Therefore, these nations are now bringing in stricter rules for study visa and graduate/ post study work visas.

Here are a few countries that have recently brought in changes in their immigration policy, especially relating to students:


Australia is one of the most popular study abroad destinations among Indian students. At least 1.09 lakh Indian students were studying in Australia in 2022, as per government data. The number has been steadily increasing since 2019 when it was 73808, which decreased to 33629 in 2020 and 8950 in 2021 (due to the Covid pandemic).

Recently, the Australian government announced that international students would now require a higher score in the English proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL and Duolingo English test. As per the revised rules the test score required for a Temporary Graduate visa will increase from an IELTS score of 6.0 to 6.5, and for a student visa, it will increase from IELTS (or equivalent) 5.5 to 6.0.

In addition to this, the country will also bring in a new Genuine Student test for all international students. This will replace the existing Genuine Temporary Entrant requirement to acknowledge that post-study temporary migration (and beyond) pathways are available for those who may be eligible. In terms of the finances involved, the Australian government has also increased the amount of savings international students will need to be eligible for a student visa. Currently, students need to show evidence of $24,505 in savings.

United Kingdom (UK)

The UK recently published a report on immigration, on the basis of an analysis conducted by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). As per the report, there are over 7.50 lakh students who head to the UK to study each year – in higher and further education, in independent and language schools. With this in mind, the current British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced that since “immigration is too high”, the British government will take steps to decrease the immigration stats. Keeping his promise, Rishi Sunak has announced a ban on overseas students bringing their families to the UK, unless they are on postgraduate research degrees. Additionally, international students will also no longer be allowed to switch from the student visa to work routes until their studies have been completed.

Additionally, the Rishi Sunak-led government has also ordered a review of the two-year post study work (PSW) visa. Earlier, the Boris Johnson government had announced the reinstatement of a two-year post-study work (PSW) visa in the UK, under which international students enrolled for undergraduate level and higher are allowed to stay back for two years in the UK after graduation to work or find work.

A few months ago, the UK had also announced an increase in the visa fee (including for study visa) by nearly £127. Now, the revised visa application fee for a student visa is Rs 51,787.


Indian and Canada have seen several hiccups in immigration, in the past few months, and one of the most affected by these ups and downs are the Indian students who plan to head to Canada to pursue higher studies. From December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLI) is required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC. This new, enhanced verification process aims to protect prospective students from letter of acceptance fraud and to help them avoid similar problems that some students faced earlier in 2023 as a result of fraud investigations. It will also ensure that study permits are issued based only on genuine letters of acceptance.

Like the UK, Canada will also soon complete an assessment of Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria and begin introducing reforms to better calibrate it to meet the needs of the Canadian labour market, as well as regional and Francophone immigration goals. In December, Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship also announced that the minimum cost of living financial requirement for students will be raised from the current 10,000 Canadian dollars to 20,635 Canadian dollars from January 1, 2024.


A popular choice among Indian students aiming to pursue a career in fields such as fashion, culinary arts, management, business etc., France is bringing in changes to make the study abroad experience an easier journey for international students. As per the new guidelines, for students earning a Master’s degree in France, the French government has extended the previously sponsored two-year Post-Study Work visa to five years now. France recently announced that students, who have even spent a semester studying in the country for their master’s or above, can avail a five-year short-stay Schengen visa and explore job opportunities.


Located near the UK, Ireland is one of the upcoming study abroad destinations among Indian students. For the post study work visa, the Irish government permits international students who completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree to remain in the country for a period of two years, while a PhD holder may remain for a period of three years. Earlier, this time frame was one year for undergraduates.


Indian students aiming to stay in Italy after the completion of their degrees will now be allowed to stay in the country for an additional 12 months. According to government data, a total of 5,897 Indian students were present in Italy in 2022 on study visas. In 2019, there were 4791 Indian students in India, 3211 in 2020 and 3008 Indian students were in Italy in 2021. In addition to this, the Italian side has detailed provisions related to professional training, extracurricular internships and curricular internships which allow Indian students/ trainees to gain experience in Italian skill/ training standards.

New Zealand

Recently, New Zealand announced that it will now accept IELTS (International English Language Testing System) One Skill Retake option. The IELTS One Skill Retake allows test takers to retake any one of the four skills (listening, reading, writing, or speaking) if they did not achieve the score they desired in the first attempt. The decision taken by the Immigration New Zealand is recognised as a valid and reliable means of assessing English language proficiency, meeting the stringent requirements for international migration to New Zealand.

United States of America

One of the most popular study abroad destination among Indian students, the United States announced a new rule for student visa applicants to prevent fraud and abuse of the appointment system in 2023. As per the new guidelines, all students applying for F, M and J student visa have been advised to use their own passport information when creating a profile and scheduling their visa appointment. Applicants who have created a profile or booked an appointment using an incorrect passport number will not be accepted at the Visa Application Centers (VAC). Their appointments will be cancelled and the visa fee will be lost, the US Embassy in India stated.