Recent visa regulations and reforms in the United States and in other countries have lately been a widely discussed topic, in particular to their aftereffects on various industries and organizations. As management education researchers, naturally we tend to focus on issues revolving around student visas, especially business students, but I have observed that other groups are also being significantly affected.
The other day I came across an article in the New York Times discussing how the strict visa regulations are “depriving the U.S. stage” for foreign artists and performers. According to Homeland Security Department records, “requests for the standard foreign performer’s visa declined by almost 25 percent between 2006 and 2010…During the same period the number of these visa petitions rejected, though small in absolute numbers, rose by more than two-thirds.”
Relating back to student visa regulations, Hollywood has also used this for a story plot in a fairly recent film called, “Like Crazy,” about a British student studying in the United States who falls in love with an American. Their relationship dramatically complicates when her visa expires and is subsequently banned from entering the country – quite the emotional roller coaster for the couple.
Focusing on the management education landscape, one article touches on these stricter U.S. regulations on business students, and discusses why Canada is a more appealing destination for foreign MBA students: “Canada's student visa rules, the country's diversity and welcoming reputation also help to give Canadian business schools a vital competitive advantage over schools in the U.K. and the U.S., which are the world's top recruiters of foreign students.”
Does AACSB data support this statement in regard to the comparison made with the U.S.? In the Business School Questionnaire, we ask schools to indicate the number of students enrolled at different degree levels who are non-citizens without permanent visas and that we can assume are studying on a student visa.
At the Undergraduate level we see that in fact for both Canada and the United States there has been a growth in students who are non-citizens, not holding permanent visas. From 2006-2007 to 2010-2011, the number of these students in Canada rose from 14.2% to 20.9%, while in the U.S. the numbers rose from 3.8% to 6.4%. At the MBA level, both countries showed more steady trends, however the United States did show a decline from 14.1% in 2006-2007 to 12.6% in 2010-2011, while in Canada the number rose slightly from 28.4% to 29.7% in that same timeframe. Regardless of the change in numbers, a significantly larger percent of students without a permanent visa do enroll at Canadian schools compared to U.S. schools.