The data, based on over 50 million prospective student searches from around the world, showed immediately after the announcement, Indian students shifted enquiries towards the UK, taking substantial market share from Australia.
“There is a big impact in demand for health and medicine courses”
“You can see that the UK’s quickly gaining share in interest, and it has been taken from Australia and also the other destination markets,” said chief executive of IDP Connect Simon Emmett.
“Canada’s actually held strong, but it’s [also] been taken from New Zealand and Singapore.”
Education agents speaking to The PIE News also attest that they have seen a surge in interest in the UK, especially in India.
“I can say is that everybody in India’s talking about the UK, too much!,” Harmeet Gill, country director for Australia for OECC Global Education, told The PIE.
“Look at any agent’s webpage or their Facebook promotions, it’s all about UK.”
OECC has 13 offices in India, and also operates in Nepal, Bangladesh, Dubai and Sri Lanka. Gill said that news of impending post-study work rights had also bolstered interest in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
And he suggested that a shift from Australia to the UK would be not simply because post-study work rights were coming on stream, but because there was a perception that requirements would be more lenient in the UK than in Australia.
“They’re pretty lenient, or open, on academics and [gaps] in study. Aussies will typically ask for the genuine temporary entry criteria,” he expanded.
Bina Shah, general manager at IAEC in Melbourne, also said she expected to see a market shift. “Australia will be affected, definitely, with the UK announcing PSW,” she told The PIE.
And Gagandeep Singh of Planet Education noted the one-year master’s was also popular in the UK.
According to IDP Connect, the most noticeable impact of the 10 September announcement came almost immediately after, with IDP Connect’s data showing search results to the UK overtaking Australia to increase by 47% as interest in Australia decreased 15%.
Emmett said current search tendencies were indicative of future enrolment trends over the next 18 months, adding this may be experienced more quickly in Indian enrolments due to a shorter timeframe for decision-making.
While overall interest increased to the UK, subject and course search data revealed changes to the fields of interest for prospective Indian students, which Emmett said providers should consider as part of their marketing efforts.
“There is a big impact in demand for health and medicine courses in the UK; computer science, engineering and tech,” he said.
“From a UK institution perspective, that does change the academic that they may send out to support the teams during a visit, maybe some of the subject campaigns.”
According to IDP Connect’s 2019 Digital International Student Survey, prospective students were most swayed by employment prospects and work experience during and after studies.
• Additional reporting by Amy Baker.