There are concerns that the number of overseas students granted UK visas to study at British universities could fall by up to 50 per cent.
According to The Guardian, the Home Office is planning to bring in much stricter criteria than previously thought, as part of efforts to bring down the net migration figures. It has said the measures will be introduced because of concerns that too many international students are overstaying their visas at the end of their courses.
University sources told the paper that the plans included proposals to reduce the number of international students from the current 300,000 a year to just 170,000. One said that the plans were “insane” and that “politics is trumping economics”.
Overseas students add around £11 billion annually to the UK economy through their fees and their spending while they are in Britain. They are also responsible for supporting around 170,000 British jobs.
NUS international students' officer, Mostafa Rajaai said: “We are extremely worried how the basic rights of so many international students have been taken away from them over the past few years.
"Britain's reputation as a much desired destination for learning has already been tarnished across the globe due to how international students have been treated.”
International students have been under the spotlight for some time as the Home Office tries to reduce the annual net migration figure. There has already been a reaction, with the number of overseas students choosing to study in the UK declining because of the perceived unwelcoming atmosphere. This has raised concerns that the UK is losing out on top talent to other countries which do not have such strict regulations for student visas and which also allow students to remain in the country to work following completion of their course.