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Brazil: Two-thirds of agents surveyed predict sales will fall

Just under two-thirds of education agencies in Brazil surveyed by BMI, international student recruitment fair organisers, believe that their sales this year will be lower than last year as a result of the currency depreciation.

Photo: Mike Vondran

90% of respondents said that the exchange rate and economic crisis is responsible for an increase or decrease in numbers

The survey, which was conducted in July and August, is based on responses from 71 agencies across Brazil.

It found that 61% of agents were expecting fewer students to go abroad than in 2014. However, 39% were expecting an increase in numbers.

“I think that this year is going to be a difficult year for them”

“We were surprised by that,” Samir Zaveri, CEO and president of BMI, told The PIE News. “Because we would have thought that almost all would have expected a decrease this year.”

The survey also found that 90% of respondents said that the exchange rate and economic crisis is responsible for an increase or decrease in numbers.

Zaveri added: “I think that this year is going to be a difficult year for them, because since even the survey, the real has softened a little bit further.”

In addition to the currency depreciation, 22% of agents said that new visa regulations are also having an effect on Brazilian students going abroad.

Zaveri said that when it comes to visa regulations, work rights are the key factor affecting students.

“As the currency has been weakening, more people have been looking to go to countries where they can do some work,” he said.

“It will also have an effect: one, on countries where you’re not allowed to work at all, so they will be less chosen. Also on the countries that do allow work will be more popular.”

The survey also found that agents are seeing an increase in interest in other non-traditional destination countries.

When asked which countries are seeing the biggest increase in interest in the last year, 17% said Argentina and Malta. A further 15% said South Africa, with 14% answering New Zealand.

Other than English and Spanish, the language which was the highest in demand was French, according to the respondents, with 17% thinking so.

German and Italian followed, each named by 15% of the agents. Ten per cent of the agents saw Japanese as an in-demand language.

“It will probably recover in the second half of next year”

The survey was sent out to all 450 agencies in Brazil by email.

Despite the current recession, agencies across Brazil have acknowledged that while the situation is bad, they have seen worse.

Speaking to agents at the recent Salao do Estudante BMI fair in Brazil, Zaveri said many expected this year to be tough but that “possibly the second half of next year, it would recover”.

The Salao do Estudante fair took place last month in seven different Brazilian cities, with almost 34,000 visitors in attendance.

Of the prospective students who registered for the September fair, 32% said they want to go to the US, with Canada (30%) and the UK (28%) being the next most popular destinations.

Nearly two thirds of registered participants said that they are looking to study abroad in six months or more, which Zaveri said is because they are likely waiting to see if the currency stabilises.

“It’s not like they’re waiting to see if it necessarily strengthens, but just so that it stabilises at a certain level before they make the decision,” he said.

“I think that sort of reflects what I said is that it will probably recover in the second half of next year.”

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