Monday, 6 February 2017

UK student Visa and Immigration updates in relation to EU & non EU International Students in UK - 2017

The Home Office released a statement of changes to the immigration rules on the 3 November 2016. The main changes affecting students will affect applications made on or after the 24 November 2016

Today, we will reflect on Trends and Observations for year 2017 – below we will try to outline UK student Visa and Immigration updates in relation to EU & non EU International Students in UK

Last Month, UKCISA voiced on International Student matters in relation to UK Immigration policy at Home Affairs committee's Immigration Inquiry

Below is a submission made by UKCISA to Home Office Committee’s Immigration Inquiry? - We shall outline few major observations from the submission

“Impact of current (Immigration) policy”
  • The cumulative effect, however, of government rhetoric, policies to create a ‘hostile environment’, hugely complex and restrictive rules and a disproportionately harsh inspection and compliance regime - even for globally recognised and respected universities – together with the abolition of Post-Study Work - has been, for the majority of institutions, a significant downturn in international student numbers.
  • Of particular concern have been the so-called ‘credibility interviews’ which undermine the objectivity and transparency of the decision making process and which have led some institutions – fearing the revocation of their licence if the visa refusal limit is breached – to restrict or end entirely making offers to any students in particular countries (such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria) – details available.
  • Numbers going to private colleges have been decimated, those to publicly funded Further Education colleges reduced by over 50% and the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) returns show that overall numbers coming to UK universities are no longer increasing and that first year arrivals are now on the decrease.
  • The HESA statistics also show that over the last 5 years the downturn and impact on certain local communities (which arguably might need investment and jobs most) has been particularly severe with non-EU student numbers decreasing in Bedfordshire by 66%, Teesside by 65%, Staffordshire 52%, Bradford 45%, Hull by 40%, Wolverhampton 37%.
  • Whilst ministers say that applications to Russell Group universities have been on the rise (which is true) this is not the case for the vast majority of institutions and many believe that a change in policy on non-EU/Tier 4 students is now essential.
     
  • This is now urgently required as a January 2017 report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) suggests that any further ‘crackdown’ by the Home Office – as suggested by the Secretary of State’s speech in October 2016 – could lead to additional lost income of £2bn per year.
  • The final concern is that many believe that without access to loans and being subject to higher fees the number of EU students coming to the UK may significantly decrease in the future.

Amid this,The home secretary, Amber Rudd, pledged a crackdown on international student numbers at the Conservative party conference in October,last year, to include tougher visa rules for “lower quality” universities and courses. But senior university sources are warning that the cutbacks could be far more severe than expected. They say they have seen Home Office plans that model slashing overseas student numbers, with one option to cut the current 300,000 to 170,000 a year.


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