The number of foreign students studying in the country last year increased by 14 percent or more than 47,000, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said yesterday.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said the BI student desk approved in 2012 a total of 47,478 applications for student visa and special study permit (SSP), which is 14 percent higher than the 41,443 aliens who applied in 2011.
“Our country is fast emerging as a new educational hub in the Asia-Pacific region. More and more foreigners are coming here to study and it demonstrates recognition of the improved quality of our educational system,” David said in a statement.
He attributed the increase to the proficiency of Filipino teachers in English and its use as a medium of instruction in the country’s schools.
Lawyer Cris Villalobos, BI student desk head, said 31,000 SSP holders, mostly based in the provinces, account for the bulk of the foreign students while 16,478 others were issued student visas.
The SSP is issued to a foreigner below 18 years old who will study in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels or in special courses of less than one year.
A student visa, on the other hand, is issued to a foreigner aged 18 years and above, who will take up a course higher than high school at a university, seminary, college or school that was authorized by the BI to admit foreign students.
Villalobos said that of the 16,478 student visa holders, 3,302 were new enrollees while 12,949 were old students who re-enrolled and extended their visa.