Universities UK has responded to the proposed changes to the immigration rules for international students wishing to study in the UK.
Details of the changes - most of which will come into force on 3 March 2010 - were published today by the government following a statement by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
Universities UK supports many of the proposed changes but expressed concern about the potentially significant impact on the provision of English language programmes by universities and other providers.
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “All universities would support the need to ensure that people do not abuse the student visa system and we acknowledge the need for effective immigration controls. However, the UK derives significant academic, cultural and financial benefits from international students. In a highly competitive market for students we must ensure we remain a welcoming and attractive destination. It is vital for the continued success of UK universities that the mobility of genuine students and staff is facilitated.
“The creation of 'Highly Trusted Sponsors' is a positive step and we look forward to working with UKBA on the details to ensure all UK universities, and their international students and staff, can benefit from these arrangements.
“We are concerned about the proposals to restrict English language study as the UK is a major destination for students wishing to learn English before studying for a degree and there is a real risk that restrictions on reputable education institutions will make the UK less attractive to international students. We will be discussing this aspect of the proposals in more detail with UKBA over the next few weeks.” Full article