Britain’s independent colleges are facing “significant financial losses” because of changes to the way they can recruit overseas students, according to a new report.
Study UK, which has 135 members, found that colleges each expect to suffer an annual shortfall of more than £300,000 by 2017 due to the UK visa changes.
As of November 12 2015, students studying at most UK colleges can only apply for a UK visa for two years rather than the previous three. Students in Britain on a Tier 4 study visa must also return home to apply for a Tier 2 work visa if they wish to take up employment in the UK at the end of their course. Under the new rules, students will not be able to extend their UK visa while they are in Britain.
The Study UK report found that its members expect to lose around £7 million this year due to the changes, with the figure jumping to around £11 million by the 2017-18 academic year. The anticipated losses are due to an expected fall in international student fees combined with accommodation fees.
The findings come as representatives from a number of educational groups, including the UK Council for International Student Affairs, the National Union of Students and Exporting Education UK issued a statement lamenting the visa changes.
It said: “Forcing students to leave the UK in order to apply for their next course will fatally undermine this confidence, while causing them considerable and unnecessary upheaval and expense.”
The statement called on Prime Minister David Cameron to look at removing international students from the Government’s attempts to reduce Britain’s net migration figure and to uphold his commitment that “all genuine students are welcome” in the UK.