A big advantage of studying abroad is that it can be used as a pathway for immigration, says Brent Morris, Brent Morris, Managing Director of Study Abroad at Sable International. When international students reach the end of their studies, they often find that they like living in their host country and wish to extend their stay.
But this is not always possible if this has not been taken into account in the initial planning when making the decision to study abroad. Morris examines the best routes South African students should take when considering immigration.
“When making big decisions in life, like studying abroad and immigrating, the first thing to do is to carefully consider your options. Before choosing a degree program, you need to consider the location. Research what different countries offer, in terms of cost of living and safety – especially for newcomers to the country,” he said.
There are other factors that can help you narrow down your choices.
“In terms of travel, a country with a strong passport would give you access to a long list of countries that you can visit without a visa. If learning a new language is a learning curve that you are not ready to overcome, then you should choose a country where you speak the language. You can also narrow your search by comparing the earning potential in different countries for the job you’ll be studying for,” Morris said.
How to choose a course of study
Sable International said that when you have narrowed down your list of potential countries, the next thing to consider is the career path and degree that will help you on your path to citizenship. “A good guide is to look at which professions are on the skill shortage lists of the desired countries.
“Countries like the UK and Australia have skills shortages in areas such as nursing, construction and ICT and they rely on overseas workers to fill the gaps in these industries. There are UK and Australian skilled worker visas available for people who can fulfill these roles, in addition to meeting other requirements of their points-based immigration systems.
Sable International said foreign governments have realized they have access to a convenient stream of workers who have been trained by trusted institutions. It is beneficial for them to offer these international students a way to extend their stay after their studies and have them contribute to their economy through a higher education visa.
For example, in the UK, the postgraduate visa is considered a “stepping stone” to immigration, as you are able to seek work on this visa and, once completed, you may find that you are able to apply for a skilled worker. Visa. This visa is a route to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) which is the precursor to British naturalisation.
“The UK is not the only country to offer post-graduation visa options. Countries like Ireland, Canada, the United States, Australia and Mauritius have routes to extend your stay in their country and find pathways to citizenship,” Morris said.
It’s a good idea to consult a study advisor when considering studying abroad. One of the first things they will do is help you with the initial legwork in researching all of your options.
An academic advisor will consider your plans for eventual immigration along with any other information you provide them about your grades, abilities, interests, and life goals and then help you implement a plan to do so. , Morris said.
Other information a study advisor will give you is the costs of studying abroad, such as university application fees, tuition and living expenses, and any costs related to your visa application.
Use a transition course to fill the gap
There are times when the level of education you receive from your home country is not the same as the country you wish to study in. This can prevent you from going straight into a degree program, Morris said. But your dreams of immigration via study abroad are not yet dead.
There are Bridge and Foundation Programs – also known as Bridging Courses – which are preparation courses for international students, designed to improve their level of academic knowledge, English skills and the grades they need to enter. college, he said.
The difference between a Pathway program and a Foundation program is simply that the former is offered by a third-party organization, while a Foundation program is offered by the university you plan to attend. Most universities guarantee placement in the first year of your chosen course if you pass one of these programs.
“One of the great things about bridging courses is that they also introduce students to a new culture, a new country and, for some, give them an introduction to a new language.”
Support you in your university applications
Choosing the right university is as important as choosing the right course to study, says Sable International. Often when students think of studying abroad, they associate it with renowned universities like Yale or Cambridge.
But these schools are notoriously difficult to access. In 2021, Yale had an overall acceptance rate of 6.9%, while Cambridge only had an acceptance rate of 21%. Apart from being difficult to access, these universities also charge exorbitant fees, he said.
“You have to remember that these institutions are not the ultimate way to get a degree from an international university.
“There are many international institutions that offer quality education that will boost your resume and help you achieve your immigration goal. The right university will be a feather in your cap when trying to find a job to extend your stay in your host country, which could eventually lead to you moving there,” Morris said.
He said a study advisor will not only help you find the perfect university for you, but once you decide on your shortlist of universities, they will help you submit your applications.
“University applications can be complicated and there is so much to keep track of. You will need to have all the relevant documents checked and note down all the application dates of the various universities you will be applying to.
“Usually you can apply directly through the university’s website and submit all the required documents. In some countries, you can even apply through a specific online platform, such as UCAS in the UK, which allows you to apply to multiple universities at once.
Get your student visa
You can only apply for your student visa once you have received your letter of acceptance from the educational institution where you will be studying, Sable International said. Some countries, such as Ireland, do not require you to apply for a student visa first, so you should check the relevant government’s immigration website for their requirements.
To apply for a student visa, in general, you will need:
- A letter of acceptance from the educational institution
- Proof of funding for your stay
- Proof of at least partial payment for the course
- A valid passport
- English test (IELTS test)
- Health insurance
Having a study advisor to guide you through this can help take the anxiety out of this process. They will manage the application process, help you prepare the necessary documentation and help you prepare for the interview if an interview is required for your visa application.
Sable International said its study abroad service helps students from the time they decide they want to study at an international institution, until they settle in their destination country. It applies to universities on your behalf with the necessary documentation.
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