Immigration Policies Deter Foreign Students From Studying In The UK, Warns Report
Government immigration policies are deterring foreign students from studying in the UK, a report released on Thursday claims.
The document, which describes the issue as "an emerging problem", says there has been a 1% decline of the UK's share of the international market. Although this may seem insignificant, the report continues, all other countries in the top eight of the market either increased or retained their share.
The report, titled, 'Education: A Great British Export?', argues that the challenging environment "can only be made worse" by changes to the student visa system, which will "deter legitimate students from considering the UK and choosing instead to be educated elsewhere".
The publication champions the need for the maintenance of standards across the sector and for the continued crackdown on "bogus" colleges, the existence of which "threaten the long-term viability and strength of the UK’s hard-won reputation for quality and standards".
- Post-study work arrangements: The report argues strongly against the plan to close off the option of a post-study work visa to international students from April this year citing the damage this will do to efforts to recruit international students
- Classification: The report also recommends that the government should produce and promote data with international students separated from other migration numbers to ensure that the pressure to curb immigration does not result in a clampdown on international students
David Kahtan, managing director of ForeignStudents.com said he "strongly agrees" with the report.
"The post-study work visa is a major draw for international students. Removing it would have damaging effects on the type of talent we can attract. The change is so short-sighted because it means the top, young internationals will simply go elsewhere.
"Of the numerous students we have spoken to about the visa changes as a whole, it is this change in particular that is worrying them and putting them off studying in the UK," Kahtan added.
In addition, the report points to research showing almost 70,000 jobs are generated in the UK from non-EU students, 25,000 of which are provided by universities. Meanwhile for every 10 non-EU students, three full-time jobs are generated in the UK.
The report also highlights:
- The value of UK education exports was £14.1bn in 2008-9
- This is projected to stand at £21.5bn by 2020
- In the Higher Education sector alone, it is predicted the figures can grow from £7.9bn in 2008-9 to £17bn by 2025
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are taking action to control migration and restore public confidence which will not be achieved by simply changing the statistics.
“The Office for National Statistics (ONS) use the long-standing international definition of a migrant as someone who enters or leaves the UK for more than a year.
“Our reforms have re-focused the student visa system as a temporary route and one that is not open to abuse. Our aim is not to stop genuine students coming here to study — it is to ensure we are attracting the brightest and best.”