The UK appears to be in a “league of its own” compared to other competing study destinations, global education provider Navitas has said.
Among the 700 agents surveyed company in May, 53% gave the UK the highest rating for the ease of the visa application process, while Australia was a “distant second” at 32%.
Canada ranked worst in all parameters except the cost of applications. The survey asked for perceptions of ease of use, acceptance rate, processing time, and price.
The report notes that the UK “will benefit from a positive perception of the efficiency of visa processing”.
Agents also consider Great Britain to be a “very good” level of visa acceptance, as noted by 60% of respondents. In the US and Canada, the figures are much lower, with less than 20% saying the level of adoption was “very good”. Another 15% said they found acceptance rates in the US and Canada to be low or very low.
However, it’s not all rosy for the UK, with recent news suggesting that the UK’s strong performance may have been “short-lived”. Since May, Great Britain has priority processing removed from some markets and applications from “high-risk” markets in the subcontinent and Nigeria appear to be scrutinized more closely, the document suggests.
The paper also notes that agents in “high-risk” markets “tend to express more negative attitudes towards the visa process”, identifying those in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as having more negative attitudes. especially in Canada and the United States.
“This creates a particular challenge for institutions that want to diversify the composition of their international student cohort as they grow on the African continent,” Navitas said. Diversification was a key theme in national programmes, including Great Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The organization also said that “processing time appears to be a more important factor than the cost of the application.”
Canada ranked low among destination countries in terms of visa processing time.
“Approximately 30% of agents from the Americas, Greater China, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa rated Canada as Poor/Very Poor for processing times in Canada,” the study found.
“Agents in China were perhaps the most negative, with 36% of agents rating Canada as poor/very poor for processing time.”
“In 2021, Canada became the world’s leader in issuing visas”
Although Canada came out on top for application cost, the report notes that “the cost of an application is only a small fraction of the cost of studying abroad.”
“In 2021, Canada became a world leader in visa processing with the introduction of an innovative, student-focused Guaranteed Processing Time policy; Students who applied for a study permit in May were promised a decision on their application by August, giving students clarity on their ability to start their studies in the fall,” it concluded.
“In the coming months, as international travel resumes, all destination countries will face greater difficulties when it comes to immigration clearance, not only for international students but also for other categories of applicants. Those destinations that can find ways to prioritize student visas during these critical pre-employment periods will be able to maximize recovery momentum.”