UK visa changes' could deter overseas students'

17 May 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Concern has once again been shown regarding the impact of recent UK visa regulations when it comes to attracting foreign students.

Professor Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, stated that British universities could stand to lose out on millions of pounds a year due to UK immigration policies.

He explained that the prime minister's aim of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands risks harming the education sector by putting overseas students off studying here.

"The UK seems to be telling the world it doesn't welcome international students while other countries are travelling in different directions," remarked the professor.

He added: "We are requesting that international university students should be removed from the net migration statistics for policy purposes, bringing us in line with our major competitors.

"We believe that this would help the government by creating a clear differentiation between temporary and permanent migration, help universities whose international character is essential to their future success, and help the UK by contributing to economic growth."

The comments come shortly after the think tank IPPR made the suggestion that the government should change its method of measuring student migration flows and stop including those that don't remain in the country after their course of study in the official net migration figures.