Business schools: UK immigration policy sparks drop in students

Chartered Association of Business Schools report shows numbers of non-EU students falling almost 9 per cent last year

March 10, 2016
People queuing at UK border, Heathrow Airport, London
Source: PA

International business students are being put off studying at UK universities in their droves because of stringent visa policies, a new report has claimed.

A third of international students at UK institutions study at business schools and they contribute £2.4 billion every year to universities and the UK economy, according to the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS), but last year the schools’ non-EU intake shrank by 8.6 per cent.

This represented a direct £133.5 million loss to universities and their local economies, CABS says, and also poses a further risk to universities because the income made in business schools often helps to subsidise other subjects and faculties.

The CABS report UK Business Schools and International Student Recruitment: Trends, Challenges and the Case for Changestates that members have often cited UK visa policy reforms since 2011 as reasons for the decline in numbers, because the changes made “it more difficult than previously for many international students to obtain a post-study work visa in the UK”.

“Allowable visa application refusal rates falling to a maximum of 10% have also made the recruitment process more difficult, with fears that a further tightening may be considered,” the report states.

“At the same time a more open and relaxed approach to international study visas in other countries, especially Australia, Canada and New Zealand, are putting the UK at a competitive disadvantage.”

One business school head of recruitment commented that the UK’s education brand was “beginning to look racist” to those abroad, while a dean said that anyone making forecasts of increased student recruitment to the UK was living in “la-la land”.

Simon Collinson, chair of CABS and dean of the University of Birmingham’s business school, said the report showed how “damaging” the situation is for business schools and the “universities that rely on their income”.

“In 2014-15 we experienced the sharpest decline of international students starting degree programmes in UK business schools,” he said. “Although our business schools remain competitive and our universities are amongst the best in world, international students are choosing other countries for their education because our immigration regulations make this country difficult, or unattractive, to enter.

“These skilled, entrepreneurial and globally mobile students are the leaders of tomorrow and the UK’s immigration policies should be designed to attract them so that our universities and our economy can benefit from the diversity and added value they bring.”

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham