Universities claim British reputation damaged following UK immigration changes
Russell Group, a coalition of 24 of the UK's most prestigious
universities, has claimed the damage done by UK immigration policy
changes is already being felt as application rates drop.
Russell Group claim the UK's international reputation as a place to
study has been damaged due to changes to UK immigration policy.
part of its effort to reduce net immigration to the UK to the 'tens of
thousands' by the end of the current Parliament, the Government has made
drastic changes to UK visa and immigration policy - some of which have
affected international students.
Policy changes which came into
effect in April place more stringent requirements on English language
abilities and remove the right to work following graduation.
have consistently argued that international student numbers, which are
worth billions of pounds to the British economy every year, should be
removed from net migration stats but the Government has remained firm.
issue reached a head last month when London Metropolitan University's
(LMU) ability to vouch for international students was revoked, leaving
over 2,000 students with the prospect of finding alternative
institutions to study at, or returning home.
The LMU is yet to
be resolved by the Russell Group has claimed the damage has already been
done and UK visa applications from Indian students have already dropped
by as much as 30% in the wake of the scandal.
recently appointed director of the London School of Economics (LSE),
said in the aftermath of the LMU scandal, prospective international
students "are worried about the possibility the Government might
suddenly and without notice revoke visas."
"If you are a bright
student and you have offers from the LSE and Cambridge and Harvard and
you haven't got a visa for the UK, what are you going to do?" asked Mr
Calhoun, adding that the LMU scandal has done 'untold reputational
damage' to the country's international education industry.
claim the changes are justified due to high levels of abuse within the
system; foreign citizens apply to university courses, enter the country
and then seek employment instead of studying.
Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says ministers need to be aware of the impact policy changes can have.
changes made to policy so far have been very heavy handed and the drop
in application numbers was predictable," said Ms Murdock.
agrees the system needs to become more stringent to limit abuse, but it
shouldn't come at the cost of one of the country's most profitable and
well respected industries."