Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Stricter Rules for Indian Students Pursuing Higher Education Abroad


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Higher education in foreign countries


  • Indian students aspiring to pursue higher education in English-speaking countries, notably Canada and the U.K., are facing increased difficulties due to tightening immigration rules.
  • This shift in regulations is affecting various aspects of the admission process and has raised concerns among higher education experts.

Recent Policy Changes

[1] Canada’s Revised Requirements:

  • The Canadian government, responding to political tensions with India, revised its requirements in December 2023 to enhance the protection of international students.
  • Notable Changes:
    1. The Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) amount, necessary for visa applications, increased from 10,000 Canadian dollars (approximately ₹6.15 lakh) to 20,635 Canadian dollars (around ₹12.7 lakh).
    2. Canada has limited the total number of study permits or student visas to be issued to 3.6 lakh, down from nearly four lakh.

[2] UK’s Restriction on Dependant Family:

  • Starting in 2024, international students in the UK will be prohibited from bringing dependant family members while pursuing their studies.

[3] Increased GIC Requirements in Other Countries:

  • Countries like Germany and Australia have steadily raised their GIC amounts by around 10% annually, with Germany requiring 11,208 euros (₹10 lakh) for visa applications as of May 2023.

Impact on Students

  • Financial Challenges: The substantial increase in GIC requirements, such as in Canada, poses financial challenges for Indian students, making it difficult to afford living expenses in expensive countries.
  • Reduced Visa Accessibility: Canada’s reduction in the number of study permits affects Indian students’ access to higher education in the country.
  • Change in Study Choices: The stricter rules have led to changes in study preferences, with some students considering countries like Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the Netherlands, Finland, Taiwan, and Israel as alternative destinations for their education.

Mixed Implications

  • Addressing Diploma Mills: Canada’s measures are aimed at curbing the issue of ‘diploma mills,’ improving the quality of education, and discouraging unethical practices by agents.
  • Impact on Bachelor’s Degree Seekers: While master’s program students benefit from eased norms, those pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Canada face uncertainty and delays in their visa applications.


  • The recent changes in admission rules for Indian students seeking higher education abroad highlight the evolving landscape of international education.
  • These alterations necessitate adaptability among students and have sparked shifts in study preferences towards countries with more accessible pathways

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