Around 500 foreign nationals have registered for JEE (Advanced) 2017 for admissions to the IITs compared with 19 last year.

This year, for the first time, the test to enter India's premier engineering institutions will be conducted in six countries, including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Ethiopia and the UAE, which had hosted the exam last year as well. This year, too, around 21% of the 2.2 lakh candidates who qualified to appear for JEE (Advanced) in JEE (Main) opted out of the test. Although this year, 22,000 more candidates were shortlisted compared with the previous year, the percentage of students giving the IIT entrance test a miss remained unchanged.

“The trend of students opting out of JEE (Advanced) remained the same this year,“ said a professor associated with JEE (Advanced) 2017. Not every student is keen on writing the JEE (Advanced) and going through the gruelling process of one more competitive exam, said another professor, adding that this is evident from the statistics of the past three years. The IITs decided to shortlist more students this year as a policy. Although the absolute numbers have gone up from last year's 1.6 lakh to 1.7 lakh, the percentage of students opting out of it has remained the same.

“Around 500 foreign natio nals have applied. We are yet to compile the list to see which nationalities they belong to. There could be foreign nationals who will take the test in India too, like was the case in the previous years,“ said a professor.

Ethiopia is the only African country on the list. Of the remaining five, three are Saarc countries.

The exam centres will be set up in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Dubai (the UAE), Kathmandu (Nepal) and Singapore. Seats available to foreign candidates would be in addition to existing ones and will not result in reduction of seats for Indian students.