The demand for US education remains unassailable around the world and is expected to keep rising, as the end of the pandemic is in sight. In its annual report on Nonimigrant Visa Issuances by Visa Class and Nationality, the US Department of State revealed overwhelmingly positive student visa data, demonstrating soaring visa issued numbers supported by record-high approval rates.
The report showed that almost 358,000 international student visas were issued in the 2021 fiscal year (October 2020 to September 2021), nearly tying with the pre-pandemic numbers from the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.
This is a huge comeback for US international education, given the drop in FY2020 caused by the COVID-19 situation, where visas issued totalled only 111,387.
Notably, there was also a significant rise in visa approval rates in FY2021, which greatly contributed to the surge of visas issued. Hitting a nine-year high, the student visa approval rate reached 80.2% after falling below 70% in the previous year.
South Asian countries largely drove the boost in visa issuance numbers. The top four countries with the greatest increase in US student visas issued from FY2019 to FY2021 are all from South Asia: Bangladesh (+116.8%), Nepal (+93.3%), Pakistan (85.4%), and India (84.0%).
Among these four South Asian countries, India had the most visas issued, totalling over 80,000, only falling behind China by around 10,000. India’s rapid growth in the market means that it is well-positioned to surpass China as the US’ top source country for international students.
The recently released report means one thing for recruitment agents: it’s excellent news. But to break it down further, here’s why the new data offer a myriad of opportunities that you should make the most of, as early as now:
After over a year of closed borders, strict outdoor guidelines and online-only classes, students are raring to re-experience face-to-face classes, and more than that, to travel abroad to pursue their degrees. So, if you had trouble finding students to recruit in the past fiscal year, you can ease your worries this year: countless students are wanting to study in the US from all around the world, especially with the end of the pandemic in sight.
The surge in visas issued shows not only a positive outcome for this fiscal year but also the potential to keep rising in the next few years. And with the Department of State’s annual report made public, more students will realise that now is a time to start applying to US institutions.
That means you should be recruiting them now, too.
The substantial increase in F-1 student visa approval rates – a 10% recovery from the previous year and the best-recorded rate in nine years – shows that the US government is dedicated to prioritising international education to maintain the US’ place as one of the top study destinations in the world.
With the government now ready to offer much of its support to international students, it is ideal for bringing in more students to US campuses. as soon as possible. You can also offer your students greater reassurance that their visas will be approved if they decide to apply to US schools.
International student visas issued in the past three fiscal years increased drastically in India. To put this into better perspective, visas issued in India in FY2019, FY2020 and FY2021 were recorded to be 43,714, 15,323 and 80,451, respectively.
Comparatively, visas issued in China in the same fiscal years totalled 105,775, 14,436 and 90,310, respectively. Note that China has been the US’ top source of international students for 12 consecutive years, so India catching up on the charts is a shift to look out for.
This upward trend for India (and its rivalling numbers against China) means that there are plenty of recruitment opportunities in India, along with other South Asian countries, that agents like you should be tapping into. There is a possibility that the number of international students from India will surpass that of China in the coming years, so it will be wise to focus your recruitment efforts on this market.
Our partners welcome students from all walks of life, and offer exceptional quality education that will help your students in building successful careers.
Here are some fast facts about some of our US partner institutions:
1. Golden Gate University (San Francisco, California)
2. Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, Texas)
3. Trine University (Angola, Indiana)
4. SUNY Polytechnic Institute (Utica/Albany, New York)
5. Troy University (Troy, Alabama)
6. St. Cloud State University (St. Cloud, Minnesota)
7. Sacramento State (Sacramento, California)
8. Concordia St. Paul University (Saint Paul, Minnesota)
9. California State University Monterey Bay (Monterey County, California)
10. Portland State University (Portland, Oregon)
With all these positive trends for US international education, now is clearly the best time to focus your efforts on recruiting students into our US partner institutions.
To learn more about recruitment in the US, talk to our experts today.