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UK share of overseas student market set to grow | Immigration Matters

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A British Council report into the global Higher Education (HE) market will show how well placed UK universities are to take advantage of growth in the sector, according to the Guardian.

Next month the British Council will publish the results of a major investigation into the global HE market over the next decade, which will highlight yet again how well placed UK Universities are to take advantage of the growth in higher education in the 21st century.

The report predicts that the UK will take a bigger share of the growth in overseas students than the US with almost 30,000 more enrolments per year by 2020. One of the reasons for this is that the biggest growth in overseas students will come from India which still has strong cultural connections with the UK. There are also significant opportunities to make money by creating campuses overseas or by collaborating with other providers to deliver degrees in other countries.

Last year there were half a million people studying entirely outside the UK on a programme delivered at least in part by a UK institution, (source: HESA, 2012).

Higher Education is now the UK’s fifth largest service export and well placed to become even more important to our economy.

The British Council report is packed with 81 pages of analysis and tables and the consistent message is that the UK has been passed the ball in front of an open goal. But it’s an opportunity we could still muck up.

On the 5th of April the government will close the tier 1 PSW (post-study work) visa category for new applicants as part of major Immigration Rule changes. After that international graduates will only be able to stay in the UK to work if they have a graduate level job or training offer or if they have a “strong business proposition” under new provisions for “graduate entrepreneurs”.

It is still very unclear how the new student visa rules will affect enrolments. The February figures from UCAS show a 13% increase in under graduate applications from non EU countries, but students would not have known about forthcoming changes to PSW, which have infuriated many reader of Immigration Matters.

Post graduate applications are critical and the impact on these seems to have been patchy with some institutions increasing applications while others have suffered a significant decline. The real test of course is how many secure visas and turn up at the start of the new academic year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that students from the Indian subcontinent are most likely to be deterred by the restrictions on employment after graduation, precisely the area of greatest potential growth for the UK.

But the sector and even BIS cry out their warnings in vain. Cutting immigration is the overwhelming policy priority of the Home Office, despite the economic consequences. Source: The Guardian.

The British Council appears to have grossly underestimated the backlash from overseas markets following a raft of measures designed to prevent international students in the UK from working, bringing their dependants, extending visas and staying on after graduation.

The rules have also become so complicated that even people working in the industry do fully understand them, let alone students and employers.

A Chinese student agent recently asked Immigration Matters to explain the rules on working hours, since he thought all students were restricted to 10 hours per week, which he said was too low.

He also assumed that students applying to ‘Highly Trusted’ colleges were given the same treatment whether they were government owned or privately run.

In both cases he was incorrect in his assumptions, so it is hardly surprising that many students arrive in the UK (or renew their visas) only to find out that they cannot work at all.

In fact students now applying can work 20 hours per week at government owned UK universities and 10 hours at government owned colleges, but none at all at private colleges after July 2011.

The agent has diverted his attentions to Australia, Canada and the US.

If the UK’s mixed messages are confusing student agents, how much more must this be affecting students and their parents?

Since the coalition came to power they have changed the Immigration Rules in order to slash the number of migrants from outside the European Union who can come here to work, and have introduced sweeping changes to the Tier 4 student visa system. 

Many working overseas students do not realise that they have overpaid UK tax and could qualify for a tax refund.

Whilst these changes do not directly affect Bulgarian and Romanian citizens coming to the UK, for instance to exercise European Treaty Rights to study and work on Yellow Cards, the restrictions on non-EU workers and students will create more demand for EU and resident labour.

See also:

Immigration Rules change today

Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy

Britain will limit settlement to ‘brightest and best’ migrants under new plans

New student visa rules announced today

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund

UK Immigration crackdown on Tier 4 students sees 70% fall in applications to private colleges

Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

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: or visit

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email 

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund 

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!

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4 Responses to “UK share of overseas student market set to grow”
Read them below or add one

  1. Eril Scott says :

    Overseas students are heading in droves to Australia, Canada, USA and New Zealand where they are welcomed. The UKBA has given a negative image that they are NOT welcomed in the UK. A huge industry has been ruined by a policy that discriminates against private colleges. All UK institutions private and state should be treated the same where students can work accordingly. Also, students are NOT migrants. They have paid to come here to study and they contribute to the economy, and most take ‘dirty’ jobs to help with their living expenses. They should be welcomed and admired for their determination to study abroad. Bogus colleges should have been closed down by Trading Standards years ago.

  2. Abdul chowdhury says :

    if private college students study a university degree course, they should be allowed to work maximum 10 hours. and this could be applied on highly trusted private colleges that delivering degree courses.

    overseas students also need to know the life and culture of UK by working in a multicultruel environment.

    working part time is also part of learning the life of UK where different national can have a very good knowledge of the life of UK

  3. […] UK share of overseas student market set to grow […]

  4. […] UK share of overseas student market set to grow […]

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