From the field: Recruiting in the Philippines

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • We continue our “From the Field” interview series today in conversation with Ben Ryan Ybanez, the president of the Philippines-based education agency Wise Immigration
  • The interview highlights the importance of visa processing for Filipino students and the prospects for substantial growth in outbound mobility from the country

The Philippines has been poised for outbound growth for some time now, and especially so over the last couple of years as the country has transitioned to a full K-12 curriculum and as number of host countries have stepped up their recruiting efforts to attract Filipino students.

Canada is a notable example in this regard. In 2018, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) moved to introduce a streamlined student visa process in four Asian markets, including Philippines. The Student Direct Stream, or SDS, allows qualified students to obtain a Canadian study permit more quickly and the speed and relative certainty of the process has led to a marked increase in Filipino enrolments in Canada.

There were slightly more than 5,000 Filipino students in Canada last year, an increase of 29% over the year before and enough to position Philippines as the 14th-largest sending market for Canadian institutions and schools. This compares to 7.3% growth in the US (3,225 students in 2018 as reported by the Institute of International Education), and 18% growth in Australia (nearly 13,000 students as reported by the Department of Education and Training).

A discussion with Ben Ryan Ybanez, the president and chairman of the Philippines-based agency Wise Immigration, gave us a chance to learn more about outbound mobility from the important emerging market. In our first interview segment below, Mr Ybanez begins by highlighting the impact of the Canadian SDS programme.

In our second interview segment, Mr Ybanez points out that demand is shifting in the Philippines. In large part because of the adoption of a complete K-12 curriculum, the market is now becoming more of a source for higher education students. “Normally, the Philippines is an important sending market for health care programmes,” he adds. “But we are seeing are interest in other sectors, like hospitality, business, and trades.”

Our final segment explores market entry strategies for educators who are new to the Philippines, or planning to expand their recruitment efforts there. Looking ahead, Mr Ybanez anticipates a lot of growth in outbound.

“I’m seeing that Philippines is the next Vietnam in Southeast Asia. People are becoming more global. After graduating from secondary [school], they are thinking of countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand.”

For additional background, please see:


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One thought on “From the field: Recruiting in the Philippines

  1. PMC on said:

    As a Filipino agent, one of the biggest hurdle our students face is complying with regulatory boards. Professional recognition can be hard to get by for students in specialized fields such as health sciences, engineering or accounting, which can be a factor for decision making. Despite that fact, there are flexible countries who recognize the student’s profession, like Finland, Bulgaria and other European countries, which becomes a more preferable destination to the student.

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