International Student Migration: Regional Aspect

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-2-113-121

A. Vartanyan, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 3rd training building, Leninskie Gory 1-46, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation (

Abstract. The article provides a profound analysis of the main trends of international student migration for tertiary education, discusses the key factors influencing the choice of destination for studying abroad, and reveals the regional peculiarities of instruments for student migration regulation. The first part of the paper highlights the official statistics showing that in recent decades the world witnessed the steady increase in the number of international students, concentrating mainly in the USA and the European Union. Almost 48% of all international students in the world study in the European Union. This region also shows the highest internal student mobility. Among others, such countries as Austria, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand demonstrate the biggest shares of foreign students in the total number of university students. As for donor countries, the dynamics proves the major role of the Asia region, with a half of all international students originated from it. The largest number of foreign students come from China, India and South Korea. Nonetheless, the Asia region becomes a popular destination of student mobility nowadays. The second part of the article concerns different coordination policies of tertiary migration in the regional context. Mostly in developed countries, practices of attracting foreign students to study in professional programs and degree programs with a perspective to enter a national labor market after graduation become more and more popular. Postgraduate migration remains a priority. Most countries encourage job-searching for foreign graduate students, as they are considered to have a high-skill level, international views and an opportunity to live and work in a variety of socio-cultural conditions. Further analysis refers to the main factors determining the choice of destination for foreign students, which are: geographical proximity, language skills, cultural proximity, the cost of education, and a country's reputation in the field of higher education. The paper reveals the leading role of the EU in the developed intraregional educational mobility, the regional asymmetry of migration processes in other regions of the world, and Asian countries actively promoting temporary educational and labor migration to developed countries with incentives to return to a home-country in the future. In recent years, due to positive dynamics of the return migrants number, an interest in the creation of the returnees strategy grows as well as desire of developed and developing countries to benefit most from the return migration. 

Keywords: international student migration, tertiary education, foreign students, international students, recipient countries, donor countries, labor 

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For citation:
Vartanyan A. International Student Migration: Regional Aspect. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 113-121.

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