Overseas students are being put off applying for places at UK universities due to the Government’s efforts to reduce immigration, it’s been claimed.
Business and academic leaders fear the UK’s stance on immigration will cost the country dearly in terms of the economy. There are also concerns that some academic courses may be forced to close due to the lack of international students.
Professor Julius Weinberg, vice-chancellor of Kingston University in London, told Bloomberg that parts of the Government appeared “determined to damage” higher education “by sending out messages that they are going to make it harder for international students to come here, and they are going to make them feel less welcome when they are here”.
He added: “These highly mobile entrepreneurial people will simply go elsewhere.”
The UK Government is aiming to reduce immigration from non-EU countries by making it more difficult for students to get visas and stay on in the UK to work once they have completed their studies.
From November, international students who want to study in London must show they have funds of £11,385 in order to obtain a student visa, compared to the current figure of £2,040. The figure is expected to lead to a further reduction in international student numbers.
The UK welcomed around 310,000 students from outside the EU in 2013-14. The figure, from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, showed a 12 per cent drop in student numbers from India compared to the previous year.
Overseas students add £2.3 billion to the capital’s economy annually through spending and tuition fees, according to London First.
Maddalaine Ansell, the University Alliance chief executive, said the Government’s efforts to reduce overseas student numbers would be potentially bad news for the UK’s economy. She said: “We rely on skills - particularly high-level skills - in order to compete internationally.”