British universities have called on the government for a “new immigration policy” to encourage international students to choose the UK, after recent figures showed a “worrying decline” in the number of students from countries like India. Universities UK, the representative body for higher education institutions, expressed concerns this week over a “worrying decline” in the number of international students coming to Britain due to a perception of being unwelcome.
It urged the British government to drop international students from its annual target of immigration cuts. “While the UK government continues to count international students as long-term migrants in its target to reduce migration, there is a continued pressure to reduce their numbers, adding to the perception that they are not welcome here,” said Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent. “If the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students, we need a new immigration policy that encourages them to choose the UK,” she said. In reference to the realities of Brexit, she said: “As the UK prepares to exit the EU, it is more important than ever. Read this: Find Out Why UK Is Losing Its Popularity Among Indian Students! “If the UK wants to remain a top destination for international students, we need a new immigration policy that encourages them to choose the UK,” she said. In reference to the realities of Brexit, she said: “As the UK prepares to exit the EU, it is more important than ever that we project a welcoming message to talented people from across the world.” The most recent figures on international students in the UK showed a worrying decline in the number of new international enrolments over recent years, Goodfellow said. “At the same time, competitor countries such as the USA and Australia have seen increases. Both countries open their arms to international students and classify them as being non-permanent or temporary residents in their immigration systems.” Her comments followed a new ComRes poll commissioned by Universities UK which found that nearly 73 per cent of the British public were in favour of international students coming to study in the UK.