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Foreign education: The relevance of post-study work-permits

By Rohit Sethi

Factors such as world-class faculty, practical skills and research-based learning have helped Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Germany emerge as preferred study destinations. However, students seek more than just good education; they need jobs that enhance their career prospects. Towards that, several countries have implemented post-study work visas.

For instance, UK PM Boris Johnson has resumed the two-year post-study work visa in the country. This is a welcome move for Indian students who, until now, were eligible for 4-6 months of work permit.

Canada also offers two-year work permits to foreign students, implemented to retain them by offering them a chance to work for any Canadian employer in any industry without the requirement of a Canadian job offer at the time of applying.

New Zealand has been gaining traction due to its extensive three-year work policies for foreign students. Similarly, Australia empowers foreign students by offering them a liberal post-study work permit under two streams. While the Graduate Work Stream allows foreign students with certain qualifications and skills to stay in Australia for 18 months, foreign students with qualifications like MRes and PhD can stay in Australia for up to four years.
Germany allows foreign students to stay in the country for 18 months after the completion of their courses. Once a student gets a job relevant to the course, he/she can apply for the German residence permit or an EU Blue Card.

Key things to consider

There is always a course or two that would hold more relevance in a particular country. For instance, pursuing a language course in French would offer better opportunities and credibility in France and Canada as compared to any other country.

Students often choose colleges based on ranking, instead of the opportunities the place would offer; they must look out for cities that the universities/institutes are close to, and the kind of industries in that region. This will ensure a better set of job opportunities after course completion.

Return on investment is another area; it can be calculated by expected earnings after course completion divided by the cost of education. It must be done before choosing a course, university or country.

Finally, a student must know the value of a particular country's degree in India. There is always a possibility of returning to India, and if a student has taken an education loan for a degree that is doing nothing to his/her prospects in the host country, the acceptability of the degree in India would at least allow him/her to fall back.

Other aspects like cost of living, security, simple admission procedures must be considered. After all, post-study working rights are not only valuable for students, but also for the host country in helping them drive their economic growth.

The author is director, ESS Global, the study abroad consultants. Views are personal