Int’l Student Numbers at University of East Anglia Down 40% Due to UK New Visa Rules

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News May 27, 2024

University of East Anglia (UEA) in England

The number of international students at the University of East Anglia (UEA), a public research university in Norwich, England, has declined by 40 percent following the government’s implementation of student visa rules.

UEA vice-chancellor and president David Maguire, who joined the university in May last year, highlighted the importance of international students for the university. He added that the new rules affecting international students in the UK, banning them from bringing dependents to the country, have already affected enrollment at UEA.

“Our applications for international students are down 40 percent. My number one concern is how do we deal with a potential downturn in international students fees and what can we do to either supplement our income or reduce our cost base to accommodate that,” Maguire told BBC Politics East.

According to a report from the Office for Students (OfS), nearly 40 percent of universities in the UK could suffer financially in the upcoming years due to a lack of funding, which Maguires said would be a serious situation.

Last year, the government decided to cap tuition fees for domestic undergraduate students in all subjects at £9,250. On the other hand, international students pay an average of £22,000.

Figures published on the university’s website show the total student enrollment at UEA is 16,872, of which 12,888 undergraduates, 3,984 graduates, and 2,820 international students. The University of East Anglia was founded in 1963 and is known for its research worldwide.

At the beginning of this year, the UK government started implementing tougher rules for international students as part of a broader package of measures, banning international students from bringing their family members to the UK. The intention is to reduce migration and end abuse of the immigration system.

International students in postgraduate research programs and courses with government-funded scholarships are not subject to these rules.

With these changes, the government said it aims to prevent international students from using university admissions as a pathway to immigration, prohibiting people from using their student visas to work in the UK.

“The changes to student visas strike the right balance to continue to preserve the attractiveness of the UK’s world-leading higher education sector, while removing the ability for institutions to undermine the UK’s reputation by selling immigration not education,” the government said in a statement announcing action on student visas.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was tasked with reviewing the Graduate Route visa, which allows international students to stay and work in the UK or look for jobs for at least two years after graduation or three years for PhDs.

After assessing the route, MAC concluded that it has “broadly achieved, and continues to achieve,” the government’s objectives. Therefore, it recommended retaining the Graduate route, saying there is no evidence it has been abused.

The government accepted these recommendations and decided to keep the post-study work rights “under review.” However, in a joint press release, the Home Office and Department of Education mentioned new proposals that will further tighten student visas, including regulating international student recruitment and reviewing English language assessments.

Image source: Twitter account of the University of East Anglia. Posted on July 12, 2022.

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