International Student’s Decline due to UK Immigration Policy

Today at the Universities UK conference, Professor Sir Christopher Snowden has warned the UK Government that their immigration policy puts off international students, as research shows the sharpest decline in overseas students in the UK in almost three decades. Statistics have shown that the number of international students taking undergraduate or postgraduate courses has declined in enrollments from India and Pakistan.  This news comes as Britain’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Vince Cable, is scheduled to visit India next month, after admitting that there is  “a lot of tension” in the Conservative Government over the drastic decline in visa applications from Indian students wanting to study in the UK.

Sir Christopher Snowden: need a change in Government Immigration Policy

According to research, the most noticeable decline is at postgraduate level where Indian enrollments are said to be 51% down, with 7,000 fewer recruits. Pakistani students has fallen by 49%, with 1,400 recruits studying at the same level.

Speaking at the Universities UK conference Professor Snowdon said:

“UK degrees are recognised worldwide and right now we are education students from some of the fastest growing economies, including India, China Brazil and Nigeria. Recently, however, this positive contribution has been overshadowed by changes to the student visa and immigration regime, creating a strong adverse perception in many countries and – after a period of strong growth – the decline in numbers of international students from some parts of the world is a serious concern.”

He commented on the advantage of having a pro immigration policy:

“We need a change in Government immigration policy to realise the fantastic opportunity this country has in continuing to attract the brightest and the best international students and staff to our shores.”

Another ongoing argument regarding international students is that they be removed from the Government’s net migration target. This is because many of them do not plan to settle in the UK once they have completed their courses. By continuing to include international students in migrant figures, the UK is risking pushing international talent to other countries and therefore damaging the UK University sector, which international students contributes to.

Vince Cable: Wants an Open, Welcoming Approach for International Students

There has been a sharp decline in the number of Indian students wanting to come to the UK. Minister Vince Cable said that he wants an “open, welcoming approach” for international students. He admitted that visa restrictions on students’ right to work after finishing their courses is just one of the reasons international students are choosing to go elsewhere. Speaking at the Sarat Bose Memorial Lecture on 6 September 2014, he explained that the reason for the recent tightening of the visa regime was to stop fraudulent students from entering the UK.  

“The student visa has been tightened, but there is a perception issue in India that UK no longer welcomes students, which is not true at all.”

The Liberal Democrat is scheduled to visit India next month and is expected to address the drop in visas from Indian students coming to study in the UK.

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