Adapting To Global Policy Changes in International Student Recruitment: The Highlights

In a recent webinar organised by Acumen, experts from the US, UK, and Australia gathered to discuss the significant global policy changes affecting international education. The panel included Chris Bandy, from Acumen, Bernie Burrola,from the  Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Dr. Cheryl Yu, from Higher Education Connected: International Education, and Claire Field, from Claire Field & Associates who shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities ahead.


This Acumen-hosted webinar brought together experts from major education markets (UK, North America, Australia, and New Zealand) to provide truly global insights on recently announced policy changes and potential future disruptors. The panellists also shared their thoughts on how education providers can continue to engage international students and markets effectively. The key topics discussed include:

Increasing Global Student Flows

With international student numbers expected to reach 9 million by 2030, universities must prepare for logistical challenges such as housing and infrastructure support. Bernie Burrola emphasised the importance of partnerships with countries sending students and suggested that visa processing improvements are crucial.

The Role of International Students in the US Economy

Bernie also highlighted the critical role international students play in the US economy, particularly in STEM fields. He noted that international students contribute significantly to innovation and the talent pipeline. Despite the challenges, including demographic shifts and competitive immigration policies, their presence remains vital.

The Impact of UK’s Migration Policies

Dr. Cheryl Yu discussed the UK Migration Advisory Committee’s decision to maintain the current graduate visa settings, which was a relief for the sector. However, she pointed out the need for universities to adapt to changing internationalisation strategies, emphasising the importance of partnerships and regional engagement.

Australia’s International Education Framework

Claire Field provided insights into Australia’s draft international education and skills framework. She highlighted the significant policy changes proposed, including government-imposed limits on international student numbers per course and campus. Claire stressed the need for universities to better engage with the community and demonstrate the broader benefits of international education.

The Future of International Education

Looking ahead, the panellists agreed that the landscape of international education would continue to evolve. Cheryl Yu suggested that transnational education and the changing role of language learning would shape future trends. Bernie anticipated a shift in student mobility motivations, focusing more on the enriching experience rather than capacity issues. Claire emphasised the need for more transnational education and strategic partnerships, particularly in Africa and Latin America.

Preparing for Technological Advancements

The panel also touched on the technological challenges and opportunities ahead, including online learning and AI. Cheryl Yu highlighted the importance of embracing technology to enhance the educational experience while ensuring that it is used effectively and ethically.

The Adapting To Global Policy Changes in International Student Recruitment webinar provided a comprehensive overview of the current and future landscape of international education. The discussions underscored the need for adaptability, strategic partnerships, and community engagement to navigate the evolving global education environment successfully.

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Meet the Panellists:


Mr. Chris Bandy, Executive Director Australia and New Zealand, Acumen

Chris Bandy brings extensive experience from the government and international education sectors, including over a decade in Indonesia. He previously served as the Investment and Trade Commissioner for South Asia and the Middle East Trade for the Government of Western Australia. Chris has represented the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a Diplomat/Trade and Investment Commissioner in Indonesia. He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Asian Studies and Journalism from Curtin University and speaks fluent Bahasa Indonesia.


Mr. Bernie Burrola, Vice President, Office of International, Community, and Economic Engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

Bernie Burrola, serving as Vice President since February 2020, is responsible for strengthening global engagement and advancing economic and community development at over 250 member universities across North America. He is an expert in international education and economic development, having testified before the U.S. Senate. Bernie is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and holds degrees from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and Claremont McKenna College.

Dr. Cheryl Yu SFHEA, Co-founder, Higher Education Connected: International Education

With over 17 years of experience in international education at various UK universities, Dr. Cheryl Yu has a proven track record in developing and implementing effective internationalisation strategies. She has extensive experience in transnational education and has published numerous works on the internationalisation of higher education. Her recent publication focuses on critical reflections on the internationalisation of higher education in the Global South.

Ms. Claire Field, Principal at Claire Field & Associates

Claire is one of Australia’s leading independent authorities on VET, international education, higher education and EdTech.

With two decades experience in the Australian tertiary education system, Claire established Claire Field and Associates to provide advice and strategic support to key stakeholders in the VET, international, higher education and EdTech sectors (including providers, their Boards, government agencies and investors).

She is a member of the Australian government’s Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Advisory Group, provides advice to the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on skills-related issues in Southeast Asia, and in 2023 was awarded the IEAA Excellence in Professional Commentary Award.

Claire is also the host of the ‘What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector’ podcast, and is undertaking a PhD at Torrens University writing the history of the university’s first 10 years.