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Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy | Immigration Matters

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The Times Higher Education supplement reports that two thirds of people underestimate the value of international students to the UK economy, a new poll, has found.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by Universities UK, found 63 per cent of people put the income received from overseas students at less than £5.3 billion – the government’s estimated figure for 2010.

A quarter of people put the value at below £500 million – about a tenth of the actual value.

More than a third of the 2,766 respondents (36 per cent) incorrectly believed international students were taking places allocated for home (UK and EU) students.

Just 3% of students settle permanently after 5 years

And seven out of 10 (71 per cent) believed international students stayed in the country long after they graduated.

In fact, only three per cent settled permanently in the UK five years after graduation.

Speaking ahead of a debate on student immigration in London last week, Eric Thomas, president of Universities UK, said: “These findings make for worrying reading.

“I think it is a reflection of the extent of the misunderstanding about the positive contribution international students make to regional and national economies, and to society more widely.

“Universities are unequivocal in their support for efforts by the government to tackle any abuse of the student visa system.

“But this must not be allowed to obscure the reality of the positive contribution international students make to the UK.

“The government’s approach to student visas must be proportionate and workable, and should not be imposed at the expense of our international reputation and our economic growth.”

Professor Thomas, vice-chancellor of University of Bristol, added that the international student market “is a powerful engine for future growth – and one which the UK can legitimately claim to be a world leader, second only to the US.

“The government could help grow this area of the economy by removing university-sponsored students from net migration figures.

“They should do this because the majority of students simply come here, study, and then leave.”

The Universities UK debate in central London on the impact of government immigration policy on UK universities will feature business secretary Vince Cable, Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, and Martin Ruhs, director of the Migration Observatory.

New Tier 4 student visa rules will come into force ‘within weeks’ in order to ‘cut abuse of the student visa route and ensure that only the brightest and the best students can stay and work in the UK’, Immigration Minister Damian Green announced recently. 

Key features include:

  • Post Study Work Visa (PSW) to be replace 6 April
  • New Graduate Entrepreneur route
  • Only student who graduate from a university, and have a job offer at a salary of at least £20,000 will be allowed to stay
  • entrepreneurs or small company directors with £50,000 to invest can stay
  • work placements restricted to one-third of the course for international students studying below degree level

International non-EU students are currently allowed work in the UK for 2 years after their studies have finished under the Tier 1 PSW (Post-study work) route. But from 6 April, a more ‘selective’ system will be implemented restricting the right to stay to international graduates who qualify under new rules.

Only those who ‘graduate from a university’, and have a skilled job offer with a minimum salary of £20,000 (or more in some cases) from a reputable employer accredited by the UK Border Agency, will be allowed to continue living and working in the UK.

At present there is still confusion over the rights of foreign students, some of whom can work 20 hours per week and some who cannot work at all, and dependants of Tier 4 students visa holders.

The UK is in danger of losing its position in this competitive market. It is not just about the loss of fees and jobs. The student market promotes Britain all over the world.

Many of the less popular UK universities may face downsizing or even closure in the next few years without the benefit of international students.

The student visa changes do not affect Bulgarians and Romanians exercising treaty rights to study and work in the UK on Yellow Cards.

See also:

New student visa rules announced today

Overseas students and workers can qualify for a tax refund

Immigration and visa fees to rise again

How will the new ‘minimum salary for residency’ proposals affect you?

Tier 4 student visa laws ‘harm universities’ says former Education Minister

UK University applicants drops 8.7% but non-EU students increase, UCAS figures reveal

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

Employment restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians extended until end of 2013

New fees for immigration and asylum appeals

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?

Yellow or Blue Card Refused – Appeal or Reapply?

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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7 Responses to “Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy”
Read them below or add one

  1. yes I think theUk government should revise and smoothen the process inthe interest of students

  2. good day, can i stay here in the uk if i invest in a business worth £50000?? hoping for your quick reply, thanks..

  3. […] Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy […]

  4. […] Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy […]

  5. […] Universities UK appeals to government to reconsider student visa policy […]

  6. Dear Sir

    How can I check that whether the institution is HEI or not?

    Who can bring their dependant on student visa irrespective of whether dependants can have right to work or not???


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