News Editor Joshua Herman reports on potential plans to bar international students from UK universities
International students seeking a place at a UK university may be turned away unless they are accepted into a top institution – this comes after record high levels of net migration was reported.
The Office of National Statistics has reported that 1.1 million people have moved to the UK between the beginning of the year and June. It has since been reported that 502,000 more people have arrived. The ONS report notably states that these numbers come largely from international students and people travelling from Ukraine under the visa support scheme.
According to The Times, ministers are discussing ways to reduce flow into the UK, including barring foreign students from studying here.
Allegedly, ministers are also considering placing restrictions on how many family members may join the students whilst they are living and studying in UK universities.
These reports come despite the government’s Growth Strategy from 2019, which was put forward to increase the number of international students studying in the UK yearly to 600,000 by 2030. The target for this number was exceeded in the 2020/2021 academic year, with 605,000 international students having a place at UK universities – as recorded by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
However, on the topic of migration, the Conservative government are working to reduce net migration – as pledged in their 2019 manifesto. Conservative party plans to reduce the flow have in the past included deporting migrants to Rwanda, as well as deals with France to prevent boat crossings.
The Home Office has reportedly stated that they will not comment on ‘speculation’. However, Interior Minister Suella Braverman responded to the report, saying:
‘This level of migration has put pressure on accommodation and housing supply, health, education and other public services. We must ensure we have a sustainable, balanced and controlled approach which is why we continue to keep our immigration policies under review.’
‘My priority remains tackling the rise in dangerous and illegal crossings and stopping the abuse of our system. It is vital we restore public confidence and take back control of our borders.’
There have been warnings that this move would be detrimental to Universities in the UK, specifically financially. Vivienne Stern, who is chief executive of Universities UK, said: ‘Cutting international student numbers would run directly counter to the government’s strategy to rebuild the economy – given the huge financial contribution they make to every part of the country.
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