Photo: Flickr / Ken Colwell

Government policy deterring overseas students from studying in UK

Peers have claimed that government targets to reduce immigration have deterred international student’s from studying at UK universities.

A report by the House of Lords Science and Technology committee has alleged that the number of international students enrolling for UK courses, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths related fields, has decreased by 10 percent over the past two years.

The report claims that the government’s immigration pledges alongside the expense of visas make the UK “unwelcoming” to foreign applicants, particularly for those from outside the EU.

The committee’s report states: ”It was not the immigration rules as such that were deterring students, but their perception of the rules as a result of overblown rhetoric from ministers and sometimes inflammatory media coverage in the UK and in overseas countries.”

This accusation follows consistent pledges from the Conservative Party to reduce net migration to “tens of thousands” as well as increasingly nationalistic rhetoric from UKIP.

Alfred Lua, a first-year Accounting and Finance student from Singapore, disagreed with the report’s claims.

Mr Lua stated: “Whilst the process of getting visa is a little troublesome, I heard that it’s a lot easier than in the US.

“Immigration policies definitely did not deter me from studying here, I didn’t even know about the media attention on immigration nor the policies in detail”.

Statistics from Warwick suggest that the university remains popular with international students. In the 2012-2013 academic year, 8,237 international students studied at the university which amounted to 35.9% of students.

In order to meet government targets on migration, it is thought that international student numbers must eventually be cut: in 2012 more than 120,000 students entered the UK for Higher Education. This figure alone exceeds government targets.

However, the government disagreed with the report’s accusations, they maintain that there are no restrictions on the number of international students allowed into the UK to study.

A spokesperson from the Home Office urged: “We do not accept that the UK’s immigration rules are deterring international students and there is no clear evidence in the report to support that argument”.

The spokesperson added that UK is “the second most popular destination for international higher education students.”

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