Buoyant job market and easy visa rules attracting Indian students to Dubai, says senior official of Heriot-Watt University

Dubai is emerging a popular overseas higher education destination for Indian students. In fact, with several prominent universities from the western countries having set up branches in Dubai, some Indians students now prefer to study in Dubai rather than go to traditional destinations such as the US, UK, and Canada, say experts. “Ours is the largest international university campus in Dubai and it is very popular with Indian students.Out of 5000 students enrolled in our Dubai campus, 2000 are Indian nationals. Our Indian students include those coming from India as well as many from families who are working in Dubai,” Lucy Everest, global chief operating officer of Heriot-Watt University (HWU), a Scotland-based specialist university with global campuses in Dubai and Malaysia, told the Times of India. She feels that one of the biggest advantages for international students in Dubai is the fact that, those accepted for a university course are automatically granted a study visa and the right to work as well.
“The job market in Dubai is buoyant with a high employment rate of around 98% and many Indian students find jobs at MNCs, which have large operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), soon after they finish their studies. In fact, we offer our masters courses in the evening so that students can work during the day. Dubai is also attractive because it offers an interesting mix of a glamorous lifestyle and high safety standards,” Everest said. She added that after the pandemic, many Indian parents preferred to send their children to study destinations which are closer home than the traditional ones, to remain better connected with them and for safety considerations. HWU offers most of the range its UK study programmes at the Dubai campus including business studies, civil engineering, automotive engineering, computer science, cyber security, robotics, data science, AI, and design.
The uncertainty around the future of the UK policy on the post study work visa, meanwhile, has had an impact on the decision of some Indian students about choosing the UK as a destination, feels Everest. “Some clarity is needed on the post study work visa in the UK and if there are any big changes, sentiments may be hit and that may limit the number of certain types of Indian master’s students who are looking for work experience; but overall, the number of Indian students going to the UK in 2022-23 was at an all-time high and Indians still are the largest international student cohort. At HWU, we offer a two- year masters programme with placements which helps our Indian students,” she said.
Everest added that in Scotland several sectors including SME, financial, technology and energy had skill shortages and hired many Indian students after they finished their courses as well as for internships while they were studying. “Doctoral training centres that have been set up by the government for innovation and research are also attractive for Indian students seeking academic careers in the UK. Indian students are also highly sought after in many highly skilled sector jobs and the salary thresholds for work permits are usually achievable by most of them,” she said. At HWU, career placement service and support are offered to international students at every step of their education, she added.


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