Universities UK response to new immigration rules for international students
Universities UK has welcomed the publication today of details about the student category (Tier 4) of the new points-based immigration system.
The immigration system is of significant importance to UK higher education institutions (HEIs) as international students will be the largest volume users of the new system.
Responding to the publication of the Government’s statement of intent, Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "Universities have been keen to receive more detail on the arrangements for students within the new immigration system. The information published today will be very helpful in enabling universities to understand the requirements of the new system.
“Universities agree with the principles of the new system and welcome the plan to link visas to specific institutions. But we have been keen to ensure that there is sufficient time for the new processes to be understood by prospective students overseas and by colleagues in universities as well as to ensure rigorous testing of the new IT system that will underpin the points-based operation.
“Universities UK welcomes the introduction of tougher licences for education providers that want to recruit international students. Higher education is not a high-risk area and these proposals confirm this. The tighter rules should help ensure that genuine international students are not duped by bogus colleges.
“We also welcome the introduction of the new Post Study Work arrangements. These arrangements will allow international graduates to apply to stay in the UK to work for up to two years after graduation. We know international students are keen to build on their academic qualification with a period of work experience in the UK and Post Study Work will ensure the UK remains an attractive destination for international students.
"We are pleased to note that the Home Office wishes to work with the sector to develop a phased implementation plan for the new system. We look forward to working with the Home Office to finalise the details of the student route over the coming months and to playing our part in delivering a system that enables students to come to the UK through an objective, transparent and effective process."
1. The latest HESA figures for 2006/07 indicate that there were around 240,000 international students (non-EU) in UK higher education institutions. International students form 14% of the full-time student population in the UK and 43% at research postgraduate level. Around 11% of academic staff are non-EU nationals and we welcome many thousands of international academic visitors to the UK every year.
2. The direct value of overseas students to the UK economy is estimated at £8.5bn according to a British Council report published last year. International students also provide a valuable cultural mix on our university campuses and in many cases, on return to their home country, act as excellent ambassadors for the UK.
3. Government will be consulting with stakeholders on the implementation of these changes. They will publish an implementation plan in October this year. The system is expected to be implemented in 2009.