Universities UK urges rethink of changes to visa system

Universities stand to lose billions of pounds unless the UK coalition government urgently abandons new rules for overseas students, campuses across the UK have warned, writes Jessica Shepherd for the Guardian.

Universities UK, which represents 134 higher education institutions, is writing to the prime minister urging him to rethink recent changes to the student visa system. The changes – aimed at meeting the Conservatives' election pledge to cut migration by ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015 – place a limit on the number of years non-European Union students can spend studying and restrict the number of hours of paid work they can do during and after their degrees.

In addition, they are no longer allowed to bring their spouses or children with them unless they are enrolled on a postgraduate course that lasts more than a year. These changes are likely to deter overseas students from coming to Britain, Professor Eric Thomas, the president of Universities UK, warned. The more than 405,000 international students currently on UK campuses enrich the cultural mix of the country and contribute billions to the UK economy each year, he said.
Full report on the Guardian site