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International students turning away from Britain, Birkbeck Vice Chancellor warns

International students are being dissuaded from studying in the UK due to recent government actions, a university Vice-Chancellor has warned. 

Professor David Latchman, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birkbeck, said that an “unfavourable atmosphere” created by the British government was causing students from abroad to pull out of university courses. 

In an interview with The Telegraph, Professor Latchman highlighted that last year Birkbeck had seen a 10% drop in international students due to start in October. This was after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in May that there was to be a tightening of rules allowing students to bring family members to the UK.  

That came into force this month, amid a push by Sunak’s administration to bring down net migration numbers. 

Professor Latchman had charged words for the UK government, claiming that the Conservatives were hoping to appeal to “xenophobia”. He added: “We can’t carry on like this.” 

In response, a government spokesperson said: “We have seen an unprecedented rise in the number of student dependants being brought into the country with visas.” 

Questions have been raised over the social impact of the government’s policies on many international students who have chosen to study in the UK, including those at Warwick. 

“International students are a vital part of life at Warwick, and we are proud to welcome them onto campus”

Professor Michael Scott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of the University of Warwick

Claudia, a first-year student from Malaysia, told The Boar: “I feel like the new rules put in place for international students are counterintuitive. The government say they’re trying to increase skilled labour migration, but they’re also putting up many barriers for skilled labour to come here.” 

She added: “It makes me feel uncertain how the government actually sees us whether we’re valuable assets to the economy and wider society, or just cash cows that can be disposed [of] when they need to please populist ideas.” 

Regan, a third-year student from California, said: “I haven’t really noticed anything specifically. I can understand why some people would feel that way though. And I am white, so it’s obviously going to be very different coming from the West versus the East, I think.” 

Professor Michael Scott, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) of the University of Warwick, said: “International students are a vital part of life at Warwick, and we are proud to welcome them onto campus. The benefits of our international student body are huge, and our campus experience is much richer for it. 

“We’re one of the UK’s most international universities and are proud of the positive impact our international students at Warwick have, both on campus and in the wider community. Warwick will continue to advocate to all concerned the importance of welcoming people from around the world into staff and student communities.” 


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