Are you thinking of going to study in the UK? Then you might have to rethink that decision in the near future. New immigration rules in the UK might stop Universities in the UK from accepting International students as a result of recent changes to the student visa system.
The changes – aimed at meeting the Conservatives’ election pledge to cut migration by “tens of thousands” by 2015 – place a limit on the number of years non-European Union students can spend studying and restrict the number of hours of paid work they can do during and after their degrees.
These changes are likely to deter overseas students from coming to Britain, Professor Eric Thomas, the president of Universities UK has warned. The more than 405,000 international students currently at UK campuses enrich the cultural mix of the country and contribute billions to our economy each year, he said.
Universities also depend financially on these students – some charge non-EU students more than four times as much as home students. It is reported that Non-EU students bring £5bn to the UK each year.
According to Professor Julia King, the vice-chancellor of Aston University, her institution has recorded a 39% and 29% decline in applications from Indian and Nigerian students respectively. She added that there had been a decline of 29% in applications from Nigerian students. She put both down to Britain’s immigration policies.
As a result, her institution has £3m less income, which is “quite significant for an institution with a £120m turnover”. Birmingham’s economy will suffer at least a £6m loss as a result, she told the conference.
Universities believe David Willetts, the higher education minister, understands the problem, but ministers at the Home Office look at migration “from an entirely different lens”, Thomas has said.
In China and India – the UK’s first and second biggest markets for overseas students – Britain is seen as “putting up barriers to entry”, he said. “The UK seems to be telling the world that it doesn’t welcome international students.
Meanwhile, a number of other countries, such as Australia and Germany, are looking at making themselves more welcoming, so this is still an option if you still want to carry out your studies abroad.