Foreign students: a belated welcome

James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, said that he wanted to ‘underline’ a ‘message of welcome’ to international students

March 27, 2014

The new immigration minister has said that he wants to welcome international students to the UK, in a departure from the threatening rhetoric he used earlier this month towards universities.

Speaking at an event at the House of Commons last week, James Brokenshire struck a much more conciliatory tone after an outcry by sector figures over his previous comments, made in his first major speech in the role.

During the event, organised by the University of Sheffield to launch a new video explaining to Chinese prospective students how to obtain a visa to study in the UK, Mr Brokenshire said that he wanted to “underline” a “message of welcome” to international students.

“Yes of course we have to put controls in place around immigration, but…[we will do so] in a clear and better way…one that does continue to encourage talented young people to want to come to study at our universities,” he told his audience.

He said that he wanted to see a “thriving” university sector and international students “enriching our universities and our country”.

At the beginning of the month, Mr Brokenshire said it was a “ludicrous fiction” that the government’s immigration policy was harming the recruitment of international students. He said: “The trusted status given to universities and colleges who want to attract foreign students isn’t an automatic right. And it is one that carries responsibilities.”

Currently, institutions lose their right to sponsor international students if more than 20 per cent of those they offer a place are refused a visa. This “may be too generous”, Mr Brokenshire said in his speech on 6 March.

Speaking to Times Higher Education at the Commons event on 19 March, Mr Brokenshire said that reducing this threshold was “something that we are looking at carefully” and he would have further discussions with “government colleagues” about any changes to the rules.

He also stressed that immigration compliance issues tended to be around private colleges, rather than universities.

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

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 6 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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest