Study spoiler 1

April 8, 2005

Contrary to the views of Des Browne, the Immigration Minister ("Hike in visa cost will not deter foreign students", April 1), the National Union of Students believes that government policies will almost certainly deter overseas students from coming to the UK.

Far from being seen as "the best place in the world for educational opportunities", the UK is becoming an increasingly unattractive place for overseas students not only because of the increased visa charges, but also expensive fees and problems with accessing banking and healthcare.

Three out of ten UK universities have reported a drop in overseas student numbers for 2004-05, and half have missed their international recruitment targets, according to a survey by Universities UK of 70 vice-chancellors.

To someone on a minister's salary, £250 for a student visa renewal may well seem like a fractional cost. But to a student who sees their fees rising year on year above the rate of inflation, who pays seven times more than their fellow students and who is not even allowed an overdraft, this is a significant amount.

Benson Osawe
International students officer
National Union of Students

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