Tough immigration policy = dropping number of higher education students
According to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, the number of international students enrolling in science, technology, and engineering and math courses at UK universities has dropped dramatically in the past few years. The reason for the significant decrease has been linked to UK’s immigration policy, a procedure that has been often classified as contradictory and overcomplicated.
UK has always been a favourite destination for overseas students. This fact has determined the Lords to analyse the numbers of foreign students enrolled in STEM subjects and determine whether the immigration laws can be correlated with the unprecedented fall in international student numbers undergoing the courses of UK universities. In the past 2 years alone, the number of international students has fallen by more than 10%.
This is in spite of the fact that the number of foreign students studying English as a foreign language (EFL) is increasing every year.
ETC in Bournemouth had to dramatically increase the number of spaces in their accommodation and classroom facilities to accommodate the growing number of participants this year.
How to remedy the situation
To remedy the situation affecting Universities, the Lords call for a simpler immigration policy in the UK. In its current form, the immigration policy along with expensive visas, shifting laws and insufficient time to seek work after studies are concluded represent the main factors responsible for the decreasing number of international university students. In short, most foreign students perceive UK as unwelcoming and apart from those studying on EFL courses, students prefer to join more friendly universities elsewhere.
The investigation comes at a time when the UK government is focused on reducing net migration. The rules that will be implemented in the near future aim to increase the number of foreign students by 15% to 20% over the course of the next 5 years. The Lords claim that the approach of the government is faulty because net migration could be reduced drastically, if the authorities remove non-European Union students from the net migration lists.
The area where the immigration policy needs to be changed immediately consists of the one related to the rules of working after students finalize their studies. The Lords point out the fact that a period of 4 months is not enough time for a student to actively search for and find suitable work post-graduation. The report suggests that the best approach would be to reinstate the initial post study work route that worked so well in the past.
The need to attract foreign students stems from the huge contribution they make to the academic, cultural and intellectual facets of the UK college environments. International students also contribute to the UK universities’