Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
Help shape the future of international education at the ICEF Monitor Global Summit London, September 23rd 2024
29th Nov 2023

US increases visa handling capacity in India

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • The US government is opening new embassies in India to increase capacity for handing Indian visa applications
  • The expansion coincides with reduced visa handling capacity on the part of the Canadian government, which is adding to the challenges Canadian schools and universities are facing this year in the Indian market
  • The US embassy has also announced new rules for Indian applicants, rules that if not observed, will result in cancelled appointments and lost visa fees

American universities and colleges are being supported by their federal government in ramping up their competitive offer to students in India. The latest sign came last week when the US ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, announced that the US would open more consulates in India and expand its staff in order to increase capacity to handle Indian visa applications. A consulate has opened in Hyderabad and plans are in the works for Bengaluru and Ahmedabad as well.

Capacity is expanding at a very rapid rate. As reported in The Economic Times of India, Mr Garcetti said that “the number of US visas issued in India had grown by one-third, and the embassy is likely to issue 10 to 15 per cent more visas than usual this calendar year.”

The enthusiasm for Indian visitors, students, and workers is well illustrated in this tweet by the US embassy in India:

In July and August 2023, the US issued 90,000 visas to Indian students, which as the Times points out, means that nearly one out of every four student visas issued in those months was issued to Indian students.

Will the US gain market share from Canada?

As we reported last week, frosty diplomatic relations between Canada and India have led to diminished capacity within the Canadian immigration department for handling Indian study permit applications.

During an October 2023 meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM), Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that only five immigration staff remain in India working on the processing of Indian visa applications, down from 27 before the diplomatic crisis began. He reported that:

  • The target of processing 38,000 visas for Indians by December 2023 will not be met;
  • Only 20,000 visas will be processed due to “limited resources and staff”;
  • The backlog of yet-to-be-processed Indian visa applications will amount to 17,500 as of January 2024.

Mr Miller said that Indian applicants should expect slower overall processing times and responses to enquiries due to limited resources within the department.

If that weren’t worrisome enough for Canadian educators, a major new agent sentiment survey by Academica and Worldwide Educonnect suggests that the Canadian education brand is losing traction in India. During a session at the annual Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) conference in Vancouver this week, Academica President Rod Skinkle shared that just over a third of responding Indian agents felt there had been a significant shift in students' preference for Canada as a result of the current diplomatic crisis, with most reporting that student demand was shifting in favour of Australia and the United Kingdom.

Speaking during that session, Vinay Chaudhry, CEO of Worldwide Educonnect, an agency that sends thousands of Indian students to Canada, said that Canada's competitive position is weakening, partly because it is relatively easy for Indian students to be accepted and approved for study in Canada. He observed that top Indian students are growing more likely to consider the UK and Australia for study abroad.

The US education brand remains prestigious around the world, and this, paired with unprecedented recruitment fervor on the part of the US in India, may lead to still further competition for Canada in the Indian market.

Indian students compose 39.5% of Canada’s total foreign enrolment. In the US, they represent 23% of the total, but this is a major increase over 2020, when Indian students were 17% of all international students in the country.

New rules for Indian applicants

This week, new rules came into effect for Indian students applying to study in the US at any Indian consulate. To prevent fraud, all those applying for F, M, and J student visas are required to use their own passport information when creating a profile and to schedule visa appointments. The US embassy warned:

“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 canceled, and the visa fee will be lost.”

For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Read More
  • ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Read More
  • Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights Read More

Most Popular

  • Comparing student visa proof of funds requirements across 20 study destinations Read More
  • Canada: More provincial cap numbers announced; IRCC moves up end date for post-graduate work for partnership programmes Read More
  • Lessons from Denmark: The downside of limiting international student flows Read More

Because you found this article interesting

Australia moves to curtail onshore “visa hopping” Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil announced today the next phase of implementation in the package of...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: The outlook for international education in the USA – live from NAFSA Listen in as ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen recap some recent industry news, including an...
Read more
Canada’s Immigration Minister signals that changes are coming to post-study work rights For more than 15 years now, international students have been able to come to Canada, complete any type...
Read more
IDP investor guidance warns of market downturn through 2025 IDP Education is one the largest service providers in international education. As a publicly traded company on the...
Read more
Number of English-taught degree programmes rises by 22% from 2021 to 2024 A new report from British Council and Studyportals, “Mapping English-taught Programmes Worldwide,” reveals that in 2024, there are...
Read more
US launches new market diversification dashboard Given the need for new and better ways to collect and interpret data on international student movement, we...
Read more
US ELT sector continues a gradual recovery Intensive English programmes (IEPs) in the United States are reporting more modest growth for 2023, after a post-pandemic...
Read more
Market snapshot: A guide to international student recruitment in Brazil FAST FACTS Capital: Brasília Population: 218 million (2024) Youth population: 44% below the age of 30 Median age:...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links