Universities using ‘extreme measures’ to meet visa requirements

House of Lords committee calls for ‘proportionate’ checks on students

April 11, 2014

Universities are resorting to “extreme measures” to make sure they do not fall foul of immigration compliance requirements, a House of Lords report has found, such as fingerprinting international students before lectures.

They should “adopt a proportionate response” as they try to maintain their licenses to sponsor international students, the Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report urges.

Released this morning, International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students recounts evidence from the National Union of Students of fingerprinting before lectures and cases of international PhD students being forced to “travel long distances to have their passport checked at a different campus”.

“The evidence we received suggested that universities may be fearful of being judged as non-compliant” with their immigration duties, it says.

The report also recommends the reintroduction of the post-study work visa – scrapped in 2012 – which gave international students the automatic right to work in the UK for two years after graduation.

International graduates in the UK are given four months of working rights, less than is the case in seven other competitor countries, the report finds.

“In conclusion, it is clear to us that the closure of the previous post study work route has had a deleterious effect on international students,” it says.

It also warns of a reduction in the “provision, sustainability and quality” of taught master’s courses in STEM subjects if recruitment of international students to these courses drops off, and urges the government to “immediately” set up a working group to assess this impact.

The report follows news in January that the number of non-EU students in UK higher education fell by 1 per cent in 2012-13, the first drop on record.

david.matthews@tsleducation.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

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry

But the highest value UK spin-off companies mainly come from research-intensive universities, latest figures show