Sir Christopher Snowden, the Universities UK president, told UUK’s annual conference today: “As we approach the election, we can probably expect more discussion about visas and the likelihood of proposals for further restrictions, reflecting the public paranoia over immigration.”
And Quintin McKellar, University of Hertfordshire vice-chancellor, raised the issue of student visa policy and immigration in a question to Vince Cable, the business secretary, after his speech to the conference last night.
“We do have an issue not just within universities but in the whole of the United Kingdom in terms of having essentially quite a xenophobic population,” Professor McKellar said at the conference, held at the University of Leicester.
Demonstrating some of the hazards of speaking at a conference when the press are present, Professor McKellar was later grilled by reporters eager for him to expand on his comments.
Sir Christopher said: “We need to win recognition of the enormous contribution overseas students make to the UK. They are a huge benefit to the UK and this deliberate misrepresentation of them as representing a burden on UK society needs to be dispelled once and for all.”