The government regularly claims that it has cracked down on hundreds of ‘bogus colleges’ offering student visas, but is that really the case? Mike Ratcliffe has looked into who really has been coming on and off the Tier 4 register.
Higher education is now at the centre of a tentative Conservative Party leadership election battle between George Osborne and Theresa May. With May ever-pandering to right-wing impulses in immigration policy, Osborne is presenting himself as a friend of universities and growth, and both are preparing the battle lines that will follow after the General Election. As universities enter the heart of this new and intense political struggle, Martin McQuillan looks at its implications for higher education.
On Sunday Theresa May informed the press of her intention for the Conservative Party’s next manifesto to include a pledge to kick out foreign students as soon as they graduate and introduce a shift to a ‘zero net student migration’ level. Rather than being able to apply for other visas while still in the UK, foreign graduates would have to go home and apply to return. Universities would have to enforce this, risking fines or losing their sponsorship licence if they failed to take sufficient steps to enforce it. Tom Bailey takes a closer look at this idea and where it came from.
When robustly challenged about HE and immigration policy this week, James Brokenshire MP, Minister of State for Immigration made clear that, despite growing calls for policy change, he was ruling out excluding international students from the net migration figures. But are there signs that this might change after the election? Alistair Jarvis takes a look from Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.
Immigration constraints prompt overseas interests Out-law.com has an interesting piece on institutional ambitions overseas: In research carried out by Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, 67% of surveyed universities said that Government policy on immigration and fees made them more likely to establish an overseas presence. The internationalisation of higher education is not, of course,… read more
On Wednesday night the news broke at 10pm: the UK Border Agency confirmed the revocation of London Metropolitan University’s ‘highly trusted sponsor’ status. This means that London Met is no longer able bring in non-EU students into the UK to study under the ‘Tier 4’ visa scheme.
In fact, the move is more draconian in that such students currently studying at London Met will have their visas withdrawn: at least 2000 face deportation within 60 days of official notification, unless they can find another sponsor. Effectively they must find a place on another course at another institution.
By what extent is this disastrous episode a symptom of wider political and administrative failures? Last year’s HE white paper made it clear that the government was no longer prepared to act as the backer of last resort, perhaps making London Met’s situation even more precarious.
The immigration debate is becoming increasingly technical, with universities arguing for different OECD measures and inevitably, the need for more and better data. But this isn’t a technical or even an economic debate. Like many other issues it is about politics and the concerns of voters – informed and uninformed. We find ourselves in a corner because the Conservatives (and not their coalition partners the Lib Dems) pledged to bring down immigration from the hundreds to the tens of thousands in their last election manifesto.
Students really aren’t immigrants Excellent piece in a recent edition of Times Higher Education by Edward Acton. The essence of his argument is that international students make a massive contribution to the UK economy and most of them leave the UK after graduating. In other words, they really should not be considered as part of… read more
A foreign university closes its UK campus The New York Times reports that as a result of the new restrictions on student visas, at least one institution has been forced to close a UK campus. Schiller International University, which is based in Florida and has four other international campuses, is closing its London campus and… read more
Not very welcoming Following the fun and games with the Tier 1 and 2 changes which may yet serve to keep the best academics out of the UK, the government has now turned its attention to Tier 4, students. According to the UK Border Agency , which is launching a brief consultation on proposed changes:… read more
Position on visas still not clear The Guardian has a story on the latest government position on changes to the visa regime. Whilst on the face of it there does seem to be some movement in response to the concerns expressed by universities, there are still significant uncertainties: But young scientists applying for visas may… read more