UK visa laws 'risk damaging business schools'

04 Mar 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The current UK visa regulations pose a risk to the country's business schools, some of the country's leading establishments have stated.

Responding to the ongoing restrictions being added to the immigration regulations, leaders of some of the best business schools in the UK have expressed their concern for the country's economic future. Strict conditions regarding the options for post-study employment through the work permit route are among the issues that have been flagged up as problematic. However, at the moment the focus is on the government's refusal to exclude students from the net migration figures.

Michael Luger, dean of Manchester Business School, told the Financial Times: “This set of policies makes no sense on any count. It has a great impact on the flow of talent to UK universities.”

Julia Balogun, associate dean at Lancaster University Management School, added that her school has seen a decline in demand from India, especially from prospective MBA students. She told the paper: “It's quite clear that the change in immigration policy has had an impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a place for postgraduate study.”

The comments come just days after the publication of a damning report from MPs on the House of Commons' Business, Innovation and Skills Committee, which urged the government to “think again and change course” regarding its approach to UK immigration.

The committee originally published a report back in September 2012, which clearly stated that the country's economic growth required a policy that demonstrates that the UK is welcoming to overseas students. This second paper has been published in light of the government's response to the earlier report; a response which the committee states has “fallen short of the level of quality” expected.

It added: “Recent figures released by the Home Office show that Tier 4 visa applications are substantially down, although the majority of the decrease is accounted for by a decrease in the number of visa applications for study at further education institutions and private colleges. Visa applications for study at Higher Education Institutes are flat.

“In the context of a rapidly growing and highly competitive international market, and the government's commitment to 'sustainable growth in a market in which the UK excels', this is a cause for concern.”