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UK Universities Missing Out on Overseas Students

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

University heads are calling for changes to the UK visa system to allow international students to stay and work for two years after they graduate.

There are concerns that overseas students, which are estimated to be worth £26bn to the UK economy, will choose to study in countries such as the US, Canada and Australia.

Research indicates that Australia has now overtaken the UK as the second biggest destination for overseas students, despite the UK having no cap on legitimate overseas students.

Universities UK is pushing for a more welcoming message by giving international students the right to stay and work in the UK when they finish their studies, as they could prior to changes to rules in 2012.

The UK withdrew the right to work after claims that overseas students were over-staying and using student visas as a route for migration. However, the latest data suggests that 98% of overseas students complied with their visa requirements.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, of Universities UK, said the UK was missing out on the global growth in overseas students. It was also suggested that there is risk of long-term damage in terms of losing international influence and failing to recruit international talent for UK research.

Adding weight to the argument, Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group of universities said that nearly a third of their students were from overseas.

He added: "We support the call to give more international graduates the opportunity to work in the UK for a set period, once they finish their studies. This move would help preserve the UK's status as a magnet for global talent."