As cabinet ministers consider controversial plans to cap the number of skilled workers coming to the UK, university heads warned that the restrictions, which come in the wake of steep funding cuts, will create a damaging “perfect storm” for British higher education, writes Anthea Lipsett for The Guardian.
Universities already face restrictions on the number of international academics and researchers they can sponsor to work in the UK after the government announced an interim cap on migration of non-EU highly skilled and skilled workers in July. Ministers want to reduce numbers from 196,000 last year to tens of thousands by 2014.
The higher education sector relies heavily on overseas talent, particularly in areas such as clinical medicine, physics, engineering and chemistry. Last week, a group of Nobel laureates called for elite scientists and engineers to be given exemption from the rules, like Premier League footballers. Source: University World News.
Last week Universities UK said that ‘severe cuts in university budgets could see the UK lose its position as a world leader in education’.
Universities UK said “misplaced and mistimed cuts” would impact on future economic growth and prosperity.
The combination of an immigration cap, budget cuts and tuition fees rise will present a major challenge to the University sector.
A large number of Universities are dependent on overseas students, which worth some £8 billion to the UK economy according to Home Office figures.
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