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Increasing competition from Canada Logo Increasing competition from Canada

June 17, 2015 | Posted in News

In a number of key developing markets, such as the Middle East, China and Nigeria, student applications to Canada are seen increasingly as more attractive, welcoming options. Indeed, the Canadians are even using this in their marketing material to persuade students to move away from the UK.

Between 2003 and 2013 Canada witnessed an 84% increase in the recruitment of overseas students from 160,000 to 290,000. Between 2012 and 2013, for example, the number of Nigerian students entering Canada increased by 29%.

Making more of a positive case for the UK

Many parents and students in our traditional source countries are committed to the UK – come what may, education in the UK will always be their choice. But many are shopping around and the Canadians are very effective at joined up marketing.

In an increasingly competitive market, we would suggest that it is imperative that the positive case for the UK is made to persuade those students/parents who are open to persuasion. At the moment one gets the impression that the case for Canada has increasing momentum whilst that of the UK is falling behind.

In my first visit to Lagos we visited the British Council. We asked how student recruitment to the UK was going. We were told that the withdrawal of the PSW had had a negative impact on recruitment. We asked if the Tier 2 route had been explained or promoted but it was clear that the British Council staff were unaware of Tier 2.

Throughout our most recent visit, in April 2015, educational agents – without exception – were unaware of Tier 2: the fact that there are currently over 29,000 Tier 2 employees; that transfer from Tier 4 to Tier 2 can be done easily without any labour market test (as long as the employer has a licence); as part of their job search towards the end of their University careers, students should be identifying potential employers (as a good starting point) from the list of Tier 2 sponsor licence holders; there are no limits to the transfer from Tier 4 to Tier 2.

Concerns regarding the NHS surcharge were addressed when the scope and extend of the health service cover – for just £150 per annum – were explained. The surcharge effectively offers some of the most cost effective medical insurance available. Why wouldn’t a student – travelling several thousand miles from home – want to have anything but secure and effective insurance?

I am in discussion with the Department of Trade and Investment about how the UK education sector can market the UK more effectively and combat the threat of Canada. If you have thoughts about how we might do that please contact us at dan@ttplaw.co.uk.

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