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New ‘Emerging Futures’ research by IDP Education puts UK in joint 3rd place with Australia, behind Canada and the US, driven by poor perceptions of post-study work policies and graduate employment opportunities.

Whilst much of the world closed or greatly reduced cross-border flows, impacting on universities’ ability to recruit and teach international students, the UK remained open. This coupled with the introduction of a two-year post-study work visa in 2019 has helped the UK to reach its target of welcoming 600k students ten years early. However, with the US under the Biden administration, looking increasingly attractive to international students and Australia reopening its borders and introducing a new and ambitious strategy, the race to recruit the best and the brightest students is once again, highly competitive.

Download the Emerging Futures infographic report

The key findings from our Emerging Futures research are available to download as an infographic report here:


Canada remains the number one destination of choice for students with 26% of respondents stating it was their first-choice destination. This was followed by the USA (20%) and then UK and Australia in joint third place (19%).

Student perceptions of the leading destination countries are driving the choice of destination, with Canada ranking number one on key factors such as graduate employment opportunities, post-study work policies and welfare whilst the US and UK are perceived as offering the highest quality of education. Worryingly for the UK, perceptions of its graduate employment opportunities lag behind Canada, the US and Australia amongst Indian respondents – a key factor in Indian student decision making, as 55% intend to stay in the UK to work on after they graduate.

Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, said that the results highlighted the increasingly competitive nature of the global sector and the importance of return on investment for students.

“The results of this comprehensive research are clear, for competing destinations to remain competitive they must deliver a positive experience and positive outcomes for students, whilst improving the ways in which they communicate this with future students.” Tomorrow’s international students are motivated by the return on investment of their education, the countries in which institutions, governments and, most importantly, employers can work together to develop the right offer to students and best practice in post-study employment, will benefit the most from the next generation of skilled and highly educated students, in turn fulfilling their labour market needs and the needs of their economies”

CP-people- Jonah Duffin
Jonah Duffin24 March 2022