I would like to understand positive and negative effects for a host country and for a home country of a student.

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    An interesting question in the title - could you please expand on the question body? – Orion Mar 15 '16 at 20:25
  • I'd love to give an explanation as to why, but some of the reasons are not positive, and I don't want to get down-voted to oblivion for giving an unpopular truth. You really want to know why? Go find an institute with mainly foreign students, and ask a local why they think their institute predominantly hirers foreigners. – Wetlab Walter Mar 15 '16 at 20:50
  • OK - I know from overhearing directors at my place of work that foreign students are favoured because they depend on the work far more than natives. They don't speak the language, so they are more likely to stay focused. They will get kicked out of the country (lose their visa) if they screw up. They sacrificed a lot just to be there, so they are internally motivated to perform at a high level to make it worth it. There are also positive-selfish reasons too, like increasing the international rep. of the institute/profs/work, and bringing in grant money specifically for collaborative science. – Wetlab Walter Mar 15 '16 at 21:21
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    A country doesn't fund international students coming to it for studies. The hosting university (or the student) does, and it is per lobbying of such academic institutions that the country will issue necessary (and typically restrictive) visa. The question, as spelled out in the title, is thus not even correct - at least not in the U.S. – gnometorule Mar 16 '16 at 1:21
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    @J.J I don't know in which corner of academia you ended up, but all your comments and contributions I have read so far seem to indicate that you got a crap deal. – Cape Code Mar 16 '16 at 7:51

To the host country:

Positive: A host country that is able to import top talent from other countries has a greater chance of keeping them in the country after graduation. This, undoubtedly, is an effort to promote national interests in a specific field (typically, scientific). Often, importing students to to do research is low cost (in comparison to hiring full time scientists or professors) and typically yields lots of deliverables (e.g. research papers) in a short time.

Negative: A host country takes a lot of risks when it invests in a foreign student. There no guarantee that student even graduates, much less that he/she remains in the country after graduation, or in any way promotes the host country's national interests.

To the home country:

Positive: A home country that can produce top talent gains a reputation international level for its education system (for better or worse, regardless of whether this is actually true or not).

Negative: A home country has the potential to lose its top talent to other countries, which is often counterproductive to its national interests (especially scientific interests).

In addition to the countries, i feel it is important to discuss the benefits and risks that this presents to the student as well:

To the student:

Positive: The student can gain a high quality education, typically with no strings attached. When they graduate, they are free to choose their destiny (assuming that they even have the option of staying in their host country).

Negative: The student effectively becomes low-wage, indentured migrant labor to the host institution. Students are often not promised jobs or citizenship in their host country, but are often led to believe that "it is possible if you work hard enough". This will often lead to foreign students out performing their domestic counterparts, but sadly offers little pay, benefits, or guarantees to the foreign student. As J.J. points out, if a foreign student screws up in some way, they lose (potentially) their only chance of a better life outside of their home country.

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    At my university (in the US) international and domestic students have the same stipend and health care plan. I do not understand why international students are "sadly offered little pay, benefits, or guarantees" as compared to the domestic student. – Drecate Mar 16 '16 at 1:10
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    @Drecate: All graduate students are offered little pay for the same workload compared to professionals. – Paul Mar 16 '16 at 1:22
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    in which case low pay is not a problem uniquely associated with international graduate students and is thus irrelevant in the comparison. – Drecate Mar 16 '16 at 1:24
  • @Drecate: Incorrect: the stakes are higher for non-citizens. – Paul Mar 16 '16 at 1:27
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    I disagree with your statement that "the student effectively becomes low-wage, indentured migrant labor to the host institution" – this seems overly broad and harsh. For example, foreign PhD students in the Netherlands who are employed (as opposed to bursary students) are in some ways better off than Dutch nationals. They get the exact same contract and social security benefits but are usually entitled to significant tax breaks. I'm sure there are plenty of other countries where many foreign PhD candidates get the same rights and benefits as the locals do. – Moriarty Mar 16 '16 at 11:29

To add to the previous answers: the host also wins by having ex-students in positions of influence, presumably favourably disposed to the ex host.

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Home country positive: Sometimes the students come home to teach and do research after earning their degree bringing knowledge, expertise, and maybe prestige with them to help build programs back home. In some of these cases, the home country pays for them to go, earn their degree, and come back, and the student is under some form of legal incentive to come back (contract, release from compulsory military service, denial of departure if they ever come home for a visit, etc.). These kinds of things can occur in areas of research that are of national importance.

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