International trade in higher education is being driven by a number of factors, one of which is the flow and accessibility of information technology, especially the internet. The internet has lowered the cost of programme delivery (Mazzarol et al 1998, De Boer 2003, Bashir 2007) through e-learning where students can learn through the internet, and by using email communication. E-learning is popular for some as it also reduces the costs associated with travel and the tuition fees are likely to be less than normal class tuition. As travel and migration have gotten easier, another factor driving the growth of higher education is that of the possibility of temporary or permanent migration (Teichler and Jahr 2001, Bashir 2007) which means that international students will consider whether they want to establish links with that country before making a decision on studying.
This is where the importance of immigration laws are prominent, as favourable regulations like those in theUSwill allow students time to look for work or secure full time employment. For example, Finn (2003) stated that up to 90% of Chinese and Indian students who earned doctorates in theUSin the 1990s, remained in the country after completing their studies. Other countries likeNew Zealanduse the prospect of a work permit as an international marketing tool (Education New Zealand Trust 2004), which also helps in alleviating labour shortages which will ultimately cost central governments more.
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