It’s the way that you tell ’em – taking a leaf out of Canada’s book.

Attracting the brightest and the best international students is a major policy priority for almost every university in the developed world and across most in the emerging economies.  Indeed a report produced by the UK’s Office of Budget Responsibility on 16th July 2013 went further and argued that the United Kingdom requires a steady flow of migration to offset the challenges of an ageing population.  This is rather at odds with how the UK is currently perceived in some quarters.

Despite the constant changes to student visa policy, the UK government has maintained a consistent public line that the UK remains open to the brightest and the best international students and that there is no cap on talented students taking advantage of a higher education in the one of world’s most successful and vibrant tertiary sectors. Perhaps the problem lies in the telling and a good look at the competition is revealing.

Across the Atlantic, Canada has beefed up its international marketing efforts – recently devoting $23m to a co-ordinated marketing campaign.  It is also committed to attracting the brightest and the best –and has revamped its student visa policies as part of the overall effort.

A visit to the home pages of the respective visa websites illustrate some stark differences in presentation.  We don’t need to commission a focus group of international students to tell us which one communicates a more powerful and welcoming proposition.

We wrote on creating distinctive propositions in a previous blog last October.  Perhaps this is something our friends and colleagues in the Home Office might consider when appointing their next communications agency.






Tim O'Brien

Author: Tim O'Brien

Tim is Vice President, Global Partner Development, INTO University Partnerships

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