WENR, May 2017: Middle East

Regional: U.S. Temporary Visas from Muslim-Majority Countries Down

The number of temporary visas from several Muslim-majority countries has dropped 40 percent compared to the overall monthly average from 2016. The countries in question are those that were named in two executive orders seeking to limit travel from those countries.  Both orders have been blocked by the courts. Data on these visas, which were released by the State Department per a request from the president, has not been available on a month-by-month basis in the past. Comparisons are thus imperfect: The 2016 visa monthly application numbers can therefore only be viewed as an average of all months, which wouldn’t account for peaks during busy travel times.  Several immigration lawyers however, have noted that March tends to be a steady month, and the reported drop seems significant. The lower numbers could be attributed to less interest, more application denials, and slower processing times.

April 27, 2017

Regional: Student Flow to the U.S. to Likely Decline

A recent study conducted by a consortium of six U.S. higher education associations has uncovered a shift away from the U.S. as a popular destination for Middle Eastern students. Of the more than 250 U.S. higher education institutions surveyed, almost 40 percent reported a drop in applications from the region. They cite likely reasons as increased visa complications, the recent trend toward nationalism and safety concerns. International student recruitment professionals reported that the Middle East expressed the most concerns about studying in the U.S. (78 percent) compared to other regions or top feeder countries. India was second with 46 percent, followed by Asia (not including China and India) at 36 percent. A drop in Middle Eastern students on campuses this fall is also likely. For more insight into student mobility in key Middle Eastern countries, see Academic Mobility in the Middle East and Egypt: If not West, Where Will Students Go?

Al-Fanar Media
April 13, 2017

Kuwait: Plans to Limit Number of Foreign Workers

Kuwait, which has been a magnet for expats over the past several decades, has recently proposed legislation to stem the flow of international workers in order to provide more employment opportunities to Kuwaiti nationals. A recent survey shows that nearly seventy-two percent of the population in Kuwait is comprised of foreigners; meanwhile unemployment among Kuwaitis has risen from about three percent to nearly five percent over the past four years. Many in higher education argue that these numbers don’t paint a complete picture, pointing to a skills gap among workers educated at Kuwaiti institutions.  A recently study out of Kuwait University showed that between 2012 and 2016, there were nearly 55,000 jobs to fill and only about half that number of university graduates. For more insight into student mobility in key Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, see Academic Mobility in the Middle East and Egypt: If not West, Where Will Students Go?

Al-Fanar Media
April 24, 2017

Egypt: Plan to Attract More International Students

Egypt has recently announced a plan to double number of inbound international students within three years. In order to reach this ambitious goal, the government aims to build five new universities each year and establish more branch campuses in the Knowledge City, a TNE hub being built in the administrative capital near Cairo. They have also established a website that will streamline the university application process for international students.  About 91,000 students studied at Egyptian universities between 2012 and 2017, according the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

University World News
April 7, 2017

Posted in Middle East, Regional News Summaries