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Cap on foreign student numbers could send UK universities ‘over the edge’ | University funding


Universities might go bankrupt if the federal government limits the variety of overseas college students in a bid to deliver down internet migration, an adviser on immigration coverage has warned.

Rishi Sunak’s potential plan to clamp down on worldwide college students taking “low-quality” levels might “ship many universities over the sting”, notably in poorer areas, the chair of the federal government’s Migration Advisory Committee stated.

Prof Brian Bell informed BBC Radio 4’s Immediately programme: “Most universities for many programs lose cash on educating British college students and offset that loss by charging extra for worldwide college students. If you happen to shut down the worldwide route I’m unsure how the college continues to outlive.”

He stated London, Cambridge and Oxford would do nicely if abroad college students had been solely allowed locations at “elite” universities, asking: “However what about Newcastle, what in regards to the north-east, the north-west, Scotland?”

“If you happen to’re within the levelling-up agenda, you would possibly wish to fear about harming universities round Britain,” the King’s School economics professor added. He identified that it was not simply an immigration coverage but additionally an schooling coverage, because it might result in a “large enhance” in British college students’ charges to make up for the lack of overseas college students’ funds.

A No 10 spokesperson declined to say what constitutes a “low high quality” diploma when pressed to offer a authorities definition on Friday.

Requested about considerations that the potential coverage would harm universities and the UK economic system, the official stated: “After all we help our universities – they’re among the perfect on this planet – and naturally we are going to at all times act in the most effective curiosity of the UK.”

The prime minister was contemplating a crackdown on worldwide college students bringing dependants and proscribing admissions to prime universities, Downing Avenue stated on Thursday after internet migration to the UK climbed to a report 504,000.

Sunak’s official spokesperson stated he was “totally dedicated” to bringing total immigration ranges down and blamed “unprecedented and distinctive circumstances” for the report excessive.

The official stated: “We’re contemplating all choices to verify the immigration system is delivering, and that does embrace wanting on the challenge of scholar dependants and low-quality levels.”

This might be according to proposals being explored by the house secretary, Suella Braverman, who has beforehand complained about overseas college students “bringing in members of the family who can piggyback on to their scholar visa” and “propping up, frankly, substandard programs in insufficient establishments”.

Bell stated proscribing the variety of members of the family college students can deliver to the UK is “actually value wanting into”.

“If you happen to’re an undergraduate scholar you’re not allowed to deliver a dependant, however college students doing grasp’s and PhD programmes are allowed to deliver dependants and that’s gone up from … about 20,000 visas a 12 months … to about 70,000 or 80,000.

“That’s an space the place the federal government could wish to take into consideration whether or not the supply is true … notably for one-year grasp’s programmes it’s maybe much less clear why we needs to be permitting dependants.”

About 504,000 extra persons are estimated to have moved to the UK than left within the 12 months to June 2022, up sharply from 173,000 within the 12 months to June 2021.

The estimates had been compiled by the Workplace for Nationwide Statistics, which stated the bounce was pushed by distinctive components together with visa schemes for Ukrainians and Hong Kong residents, and college students arriving from exterior the EU.

Folks arriving on examine visas accounted for the biggest proportion of long-term immigration of non-EU nationals, at 277,000, or 39% of the overall, in line with the ONS.


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