International students are reportedly being put off studying in the UK as a result of overly stringent UK visa policies.
A study conducted by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) revealed that the UK's intake of non-EU students into business schools shrank by 8.6 per cent last year (2015).
The loss of numbers could have a significant impact on the profits and funds available to the country's business schools with CABS figures suggesting that international students contribute £2.4 billion a year to the UK's universities and the economy.
The financial loss associated with last year's shrinkage has been estimated at £133.5 million, but there is a risk of further loss if certain projects and plans aren't able to be supported as predicted with this income.
UK visa policy reforms made since 2011 have been held responsible for the loss of interest from overseas students as it is now more difficult for international students to obtain a post-study work visa.
The report added: “Allowable visa application refusal rates falling to a maximum of 10 per cent have also made the recruitment process more difficult, with fears that a further tightening may be considered,” the report states.
“At the same time a more open and relaxed approach to international study visas in other countries, especially Australia, Canada and New Zealand, are putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage.”
Simon Collinson, chair of CABS and the dean of the University of Birmingham's business school added that the students in question are “skilled, entrepreneurial and globally mobile”. He added that they are the “leaders of tomorrow” and urged the country's immigration policymakers to take this into account.