Professor Andrew Hamilton, the vice-chancellor of Oxford University, has stated that he is “baffled” by the nature of the UK visa system when it comes to international students.
Speaking to an audience of academics, he said that one question keeps cropping up during his travels: “Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?”
In addressing his own point, he remarked: “I do my best to answer but, frankly, the question baffles me as well."
Prof Hamilton added: “For the first time in decades, the number of international students at our universities has dropped, most markedly from India … Why are we doing this to them – and to ourselves?”
The comments took place at an annual speech to the university, the aim of which was partly to encourage the major political parties to reconsider their approach to UK visas for students and excluder students from their pledge to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the next general election.
This is not the first time the academics have spoken out against the government's slant on immigration. Numerous academics have urged the government to reconsider its position and create policies to encourage international students to come to Britain to study.
A spokesperson for the Home Office argued that the government continues to “welcome genuine students to our world-class universities”. In a statement reported by the BBC, the spokesperson said: “The UK remains the second most popular destination for international higher education students, after the USA, with latest figures showing a rise of five per cent for university visa applications and an eight per cent increase for Russell Group universities.”