UK Economy

Will new changes to overseas student migration affect the UK economy?

Both The Independent and The Guardian have stated that new rules regarding overseas student migration will affect the UK’s economy.

In a bid to reduce migration, the UK government has put into place new legislation for educational visas for international students.

To reduce migration, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to cut immigration from 250,000 to tens of thousands by 2015. The government aims to reduce the number of people staying in the UK for more than 12 months.

By counting international students in this legislation, industry bodies have stated that the UK economy could lose between £2 billion to £3 billion a year, with universities set to lose billions.

Already having an effect on university applications, The Economic Times has stated that this year alone, the UK has seen a 62% decline in the number of student receiving visas in Q1 2012.

Industry leaders have stated that, ‘Britain’s universities are a globally competitive export sector and well-placed to make a greater contribution to growth’.

According to The Guardian if the government does not re-think this legislation, universities will suffer as in the majority of cases Non-EU students are charged up to four times more than home students.

Think tank, IPPR has warned that the legislation is a ‘short term’ solution and stated that typically only 15% of international students stay in the UK permanently.

“The current method of measuring student migration flows gives the government a perverse incentive to cut international student numbers in the short term, rather than focusing on what it states is its real aim: controlling long-term net migration,” IPPR stated.

“The Government need to take international students out of the immigration ‘numbers game’, which is damaging our universities and colleges, our economy and our international standing,” Sarah Mulley, the think-tank’s associate director added.

After Australia, the United Kingdom is the second most popular location for overseas students in the world.

Should the government’s new legislation go forward, the popularity of higher education may decrease, however the prestige of a UK education will still be an attractive aspiration for many international students.

Posted by Luke in Overseas Student Migration, UK Economy, 0 comments