UK Govt Planning to Restrict Number of International Students, Universities Say This Would Be "An Act of Economic Self-Harm"


Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak is considering to curb the number of international students in the United Kingdom to reduce net migration, according to media reports.

A report by The Times newspaper states that international students may not be allowed to pursue studies in the UK unless they have been admitted to an elite university. The same report outlines that there will be restrictions on the number of dependents that international students bring to the United Kingdom, and such policy will apply to international students who are not living in the UK now.

Universities UK, the organization representing universities across the country, reacted to such a statement, saying that cutting international student numbers would be against the government’s strategy to rebuild the economy, reports.

“International students make a net positive contribution of at least £26 billion per year to the UK economy and are the source of almost 70% of our education export earnings. They sustain jobs in towns and cities up and down the country. They also bring enormous benefits to university campuses,” Chief Executive of Universities UK, Vivienne Stern, said.

She said that the curb on international student numbers would be an act of self-harm that could negatively affect those parts of the country that the government is attempting to make more prosperous.

The issue of reducing the number of foreign students in the UK was also raised earlier by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Suella Braverman, who said that the UK had seen a large increase in international students and their family members. As a result, Braverman said she was planning to restrict the number of international students in the UK who can remain in the country after graduation.

>> Universities Say Reducing Number of International Students in UK Is Unhelpful & Counterproductive

“This attack on international students and the university sector is perverse and damaging. Our universities are a jewel in the crown of the UK economy and British society,” the President and Vice-Chancellor of Richmond American University, Phil Deans, wrote in a blog post.

He further wrote that no matter at which university in the UK an international student enrolls, he can be confident that he will receive a world-class education.

More than 605,000 international students enrolled in higher education institutions in the UK in the 2020/21 academic year, meaning that the UK achieved its goal to welcome 600,000 international students, a target reached a decade earlier than planned, data by HESA show.

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