IoD: UK visa changes will damage economy

16 Feb 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Changes to the UK visa system for students will prove damaging to the British economy, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has stated.

The government recently confirmed plans to limit UK visa options for students from overseas. These included only allowing those who have graduated from a university with a job offer from an accredited employer and a salary of over £20,000 or more will be permitted to remain living and working in Britain after their degree.

Furthermore, there will be an increase in the amount of money that students and working migrants and their dependants will be required to have behind them as financial backing if they want to settle in Britain.

Simon Walker, director-general of the IoD, criticised politicians for pandering to the anti-immigration lobby with policies such as these.

“The government’s moves to eject foreign students after graduation unless they earn at least £20,000 working for Home Office approved companies are a retrograde step which will continue to diminish both Britain’s higher education sector and its global influence,” he remarked.

Mr Walker added that the reforms are “misdirected” and will “produce no benefit for the UK”. “It is pure sophistry to manipulate immigration figures by shooing to the door highly-trained international students with MBAs to make way for unskilled migrants from the EU,” he concluded.