UK visa rules 'will put students off'

14 Jan 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Proposed changes to the UK visa rules for students will put off genuine overseas applicants for places at some of the country's top universities.

This is according to recent comments from Siena Parker, director of representation for St Andrews University Student Association.

Ms Parker told the Tayside and Fife Courier that there are serious concerns about the planned changes to certain UK visas.

A range of tougher criteria were proposed by the government last month (December 2010) in order to reduce the numbers of people using the student visa route to obtain employment in the UK.

These include restricting overseas students' working rights in Britain, lowering the number of people who are permitted to enter the UK to study at below degree level and introducing more rigorous inspections of education providers.

St Andrews University may find itself struck particularly hard by the changes since it has the highest percentage of overseas students of all universities in Scotland at 30 per cent.

Ms Parker said: "We recruit from all over the world and this will inherently put students off coming here if they don't have the opportunity to work for a year or two after graduation.

"We are handing over a massive gift to our competitors in other countries by making theses changes. They will inevitably mean more international students will go elsewhere in Europe and the US."

The university is in the process of acquiring opinions on the UK visa changes before formulating a response to the Home Office consultation regarding the proposals.