Visa rules no bar to post-study work, says Greg Clark

But Russell Group chair says immigration ‘rhetoric’ is hurting universities’ ability to attract international students

November 13, 2014

Source: CBI

The chair of the Russell Group has warned that immigration “rhetoric” in the UK is damaging universities’ ability to attract overseas students.

Sir David Eastwood, the University of Birmingham vice-chancellor, part of a delegation to India this week on a government visit, also said that UK universities should focus on “mature, partnership relations” overseas rather than simply on student recruitment.

Greg Clark, the universities and science minister, meanwhile said he would use the trip to “clarify some of the misunderstandings” about the UK’s immigration policy.

UK universities have seen a dramatic fall in Indian student numbers, which many in the sector attribute to the government’s decision in 2012 to abolish post-study work visas.

Sir David said that Birmingham had “bucked that trend”, with Indian student numbers at the institution “up 5 per cent this year”.

But asked if government immigration policy was to blame for the fall in Indian student numbers more generally, Sir David said post-study work visas were an issue “and we need to move towards a more permissive position there”.

“In terms of the realities for study, it’s not more difficult to get a visa to study in the UK than, say, in Australia. But we haven’t been helped by some of the rhetoric which surrounds our visa position, as distinct from the reality.”

He said that it was also important for UK universities to talk “about partnership, about development”, not just recruitment.

Mr Clark was expected to announce collaboration agreements for education and science during the three-day visit, and to give a speech to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry that would “address some of the concerns” about government policy.

He told Times Higher Education that stricter visa rules were not an obstacle to post-study work, arguing that Indian students who had found a reasonably paid job would find it “straightforward” to stay in the UK.

“There may be a perception that that’s difficult and uncertain, but I want to send a message that they can, with confidence, come and expect to work afterwards,” he added.

john.morgan@tesglobal.com

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Reader's comments (2)

WOW but please don't trust them as they are also the same as there ancestors as there civilisation was made on the weath looted and dragged from india and they are out of money they are luring Indians again. we all know there russell are a big failure except oxbridge and two three more universities and the hard work you do to get in these it is better to prepare for USA by giving GMAT and do same hardwork for harvard Mit or michigan, rochester and UK cannot give any scholarships to Indians. it will be waste of time. L there civilisation die alone as they are an outtdated country today. cambridge 13 century has 3 billion of endownment while harvard 16 century has 32 billion of endownment. so better to go to usa as uk does not have jobs anymore.
I would have loved to agree with Mr Clark however there is paradox in what is projected in India during Universities visits and ground realty in the UK. The new proposed law of sending students back to their countries just after studies will make things worse for UK . The Best part is when in India none of the representatives will inform that getting COS for work is a jackpot. Some may not believe me but just try yourself and be HAPPY. These days coming to UK for studies and looking for career progression is a myth since its very difficult to get a COS. Most employers are ready to offer jobs to employees holding COS rather than issue a fresh one. But the fact of the matter is that its the common student like me who lose faith in this system and regret their decision of pursuing Higher education from the UK. It would have been much better if Mrs May would have announced that only those students who will get GOOD grades could apply for Post Study Visa, if they wish to, rest would have to leave within a fixed time frame. This way UK would have continued to attract the best students from Asia.

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