UK universities are missing out on students from India because of the Government tightening immigration controls, a former education minister warns.
Labour’s Baroness Blackstone said the country risked being in a “very unfortunate position” when it came to attracting lucrative overseas students – worth billions of pounds to UK universities.
Her concerns were echoed by several peers at question time in the House of Lords, but Home Office minister Lord Henley said latest UCAS figures showed a 13% increase in university applications from students from outside the European Union.
Lady Blackstone said: “Some bona fide institutions – universities – have lost as many as 20% of their overseas students, particularly from India.
“The restrictions on employment when graduating will put us in a very unfortunate position compared to our main competitors the United States and Australia, which have much more generous arrangements for students who wish to work for a temporary period when they graduate.”
Labour Viscount Hanworth, a professor at Leicester University, said it was “inappropriate” to treat students along with other immigrants.
He told peers: “The measures designed to combat bogus institutions are also having a severe effect on reputable institutions in the higher education sector. Under normal circumstances, without the impediments created by the Government, their numbers would be expected to follow a steeply upward trend which would be highly profitable for the UK.”
Lord Henley told peers it was right to “clamp down on bogus institutions” that were being used “merely as a vehicle to get round immigration rules”.
He added: “It might be that there are some particular institutions that have lost out but we have seen proportionate increases elsewhere.”
He acknowledged there had been a fall in applicants from the Indian sub-continent, but added: “There have been areas where there have been significant rises – particularly Australasia where there has been an increase of some 20% and Hong Kong 37%.” Source: Press Association.
It is not only the universities which are feeling the cold this winter. Last week the Centre Forum think tank warned that the government’s policy to cut immigration is having a devastating effect on private higher education where enrolments to some colleges had fallen by as much as 70% and many other institutions had gone bust.
Prohibiting some international students, those studying at private institutions, from working part-time to support their studies in the UK must be reversed, the Centre Forum think tank argued.
“Since these controls were introduced in 2011, enrolment numbers are estimated to have dropped by around 70 per cent,” the report said.
Cynthia Barker, Immigration Adviser for Bison UK, is receiving distressed calls from students on a daily basis.
She offers this advice for students who discover that their private college has had their Tier 4 Sponsors Licence suspended, revoked or has simply closed down due to financial pressures.
In order to continue their studies in the UK, an in-country student whose private college has closed down has no choice but to enrol at a more expensive government owned university or college, as this is the only option if they need to work part time or re-sponsor their dependants.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Looking for a Tier 4 college or University or need advice?
You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!