• Latest News

    Tuesday, May 14, 2024

    UK Govt’s Attempts to Block Int’l Students Poses Grave Risk to Institutions, Country


    The UK has long been an attractive destination for the best and brightest global minds. The country’s universities are the envy of the world and consistently listed at the top of higher education rankings. But the UK government’s attempts to block talented international students from working and studying here poses a grave risk to these institutions and the country.

    The government is about to publish its review into the graduate visa, a two-year unsponsored work permit for overseas graduates of British universities. The review comes on the heels of other changes, including one implemented in January that prevents overseas postgraduate students on a taught course (such as a masters degree) from bringing spouses or children with them.  

    Home secretary James Cleverly says this latest review is designed to ensure graduate visas are “not being abused”. But these changes, and the government’s rhetoric, create an unwelcoming atmosphere for international students. This goes against the UK’s values of openness and innovation, which have enabled our economy and society to thrive.  

    Facing an increasingly hostile environment, the smartest students will look elsewhere for university places, notably the US, where they often receive more generous financial support for postgraduate degrees. Some international students are already turning away. According to Financial Times analysis of Universities and Colleges Admissions Service data, a third of UK universities saw fewer overseas non-EU applicants in 2023.

    The UK will pay the price for this exodus. International students bring tremendous economic benefits with them, putting nearly 10 times more into the economy than they take out. UK universities also rely on income from international students to subsidise places for British students, who pay lower tuition fees. 

    Alongside our world-class universities, the UK is home to prominent scholarship programmes, including the Rhodes scholarship, which brings exceptional young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Since our founding in 1903, 8,000 Rhodes scholars have come to learn and to foster friendships across national boundaries — building affection for their host country as they do so.

    I came as a Rhodes scholar from the US in 1983 and was privileged to return in 2018 to oversee the programme from which I benefited so much. Other Rhodes scholars have also made the UK their home, and include well-known figures in public health, education, engineering and other fields.

    We are proud of the many ways our scholars contribute to British society. For example, Emmanuelle Dankwa, from Ghana, was one of the early-career researchers selected to present her research to parliament as part of the Stem for Britain competition. 

    Access to a graduate visa has played a key role in enabling Rhodes scholars to make a positive impact. Take the fintech company founded by three scholars from Singapore, Syria and Palestine. Run by Amer Baroudi and Abdallah AbuHashem, nsave has secured major seed funding and is committed to making banking more inclusive and accessible by providing safe accounts for people from countries with high inflation and distressed economies. These founders demonstrate how opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration enable students at UK universities to become part of a global network of entrepreneurs, academics and leaders. 

    Instead of creating more barriers for such qualified, hard-working young people, we should welcome and encourage those eager to come here to learn, work, and contribute. The government may claim to be cracking down on abuse of the graduate visa system but it is only shooting itself in the foot, jeopardising the UK’s competitiveness and harming all students, both British and international. Financial Times

    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments


    Item Reviewed: UK Govt’s Attempts to Block Int’l Students Poses Grave Risk to Institutions, Country Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
    Scroll to Top