The world is now during grappling with the effects of COVID-19. It is safe to say that study abroad plans in 2020 will be affected, however, one cannot predict its impact and there exists an air of uncertainty.
USA: There are some international students who are still in the USA, due to the unavailability of flights and have decided to stay back to complete the rest of the semester online. Like most countries, the USA is also following the trend of working from home. IT companies especially are increasingly seeking work from home interns.
Canada: The IRCC has recently announced that those students who are planning to study in Canada for the May/June intake, can begin attending online courses from their home country. Those students, who have a study permit for the May/June intake but cannot travel due to the travel restrictions imposed can commence their classes online and complete 50% of their course, without having a negative impact on their visa status. Even though international students will have to attend online classes, they will remain eligible for the Canadian Post Graduation Work Permit.
UK: Most international students in the UK, decided to return to their home countries. Universities were at the threshold of completing their semester or were on Easter break. A major trend was either online courses or students returning home. Universities are currently offering COVID-19 related scholarships, tuition fees, discounts, and waivers to prospective students.
Ireland: Dates for the different levels of the admissions process are being revised. Students who have applied for visas for the April intake have now been deferred to the September intake. Some universities are processing student applications without certain application documents. The 2-year stay option opportunity that Ireland offers, continues to remain intact.
Australia: Universities in Australia, along with the government has announced hardships funds for everyone, to mitigate the COVID-19 risk. Universities are offering and encouraging online programs and all forms of technical aid are provided. Interactive scholarships are also offered. Some universities have taken the decision to waive off accommodation fees for up to 4-8 weeks. Those students who have received their ECOE after the payment of the stipulated fees are recommended to wait till the High Commission of Australia provides an update.
New Zealand: Classes in New Zealand universities were shifted online. Those who are part-time workers in the health care sector, were permitted to work for more than 20 hours per week. It is a widespread speculation that this trend will continue even after the lockdown has ended. Furthermore, even those students who are working in supermarkets can put in the extra hours, without having a detrimental effect on their visa status. 23rd April onwards, New Zealand is on alert level 3, which means that 50% of individuals can resume work, provided social distancing norms are adhered to.
Entrance exams such as TOEFL, GRE, GMAT are now conducted online. Duolingo is becoming an increasingly used platform by universities for English proficiency tests. Apart from this, there are a significant number of universities in the UK that are conducting these tests by themselves. Some universities in Canada are accepting applications without the IELTS scorecard and final year marksheet. Certain universities in Ireland are accepting IELTS scores of 3 years instead of the usual 2 years. Moreover, TOEFL ibt home edition tests are also considered. Whether or not these online tests will be accepted by the immigration authorities is something clarity is sought after. Students who are looking to study in New Zealand but face the risk of their IELTS expiring before they make an application for the July intake can make an application irrespective because such applications will continue to be considered. However, this does not apply to those students who extend beyond 12 months.
The I-20 form which was earlier sent to prospective students looking to study in USA by courier is now sent in an electronic format and is now referred to as the eI-20. Visa centres in the UK are hoped to remain open and students can expect their applications to be kept under review. Those who will travel by air to study in Canada will have to undergo the necessary medical testing. Students are also required to self-isolate themselves for a period of 14 days. However, students who do not have a place to self-isolate will not be permitted to enter Canada. Those students who hold a student visa in New Zealand or a Post Study Work visa can extend their visas till the 25th of September provided that their visas were on the verge of expiring. Students can make applications for visa to study in Ireland online, these applications will be valid until the application centres open.
In most probability, the scheduled intakes will commence with the online study option for most courses, even for international students starting from semester one. Students could consider this as an option. However, we recommend that each student carefully weigh the options and take decisions after reviewing the terms and conditions.
We at Edwise streamline and personalize the process for each student irrespective of the destination, institution, course or any level of study. Our team of experienced professionals will provide you individual attention and exceptional guidance throughout your process of application. We provide assistance related to course selections, admission, visa, bank-loan and scholarships. We also host University delegates for direct student interaction and all these services are provided free of cost. We have established since 1991 and have been maintaining strong networks with over 725 universities in 16 countries, hence giving us a unique insight into the finest educational establishments worldwide.
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