A world-class student visa system to bring talent to the UK

17 July 2019

The Russell Group has joined with Universities UK, GuildHE, MillionPlus, University Alliance and UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) to call on the Government to back-up its commitment to boosting international student numbers by reforming the student visa route.

In a briefing submitted to Government today, the organisations have collectively set out five principles for an improved student visa system and outlined the actions needed to achieve reform. These include actions that would improve the international students’ experience of the visa system, reduce the administrative burden for immigration sponsors and the Home Office and increase the reliability, transparency and accountability of the immigration system.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive, Russell Group, said: “The UK is a world-leader in higher education and we are ambitious to grow our international reach by attracting more students from every country to study here. This will bring huge advantages to the UK economy and society, but we need a world-class student visa system that matches this ambition. The Government now has a great opportunity to tackle inefficiencies in the system, reform the student experience and create a welcoming offer that will boost the UK’s reputation internationally.

“Getting this right will also help the Home Office and universities cope with the increase in student visa numbers once free movement between the EU and UK ends. This report shows the strength of feeling on this issue across the sector and highlights the clear consensus on the reforms needed. We look forward to working with Government on our recommended actions to ensure the UK’s future immigration system is recognised and envied around the world as one that provides effective support for students, universities and the economy.”

Former Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP said: ‘The UK will lose its world-beating position in the global higher education market if it does not improve its offer to international students. The proposals put forward in this briefing highlight a number of ways in which the Government could help make the UK a more attractive destination for international students.

“It is essential that well-meaning measures to prevent the exploitation of student visas do not become unnecessarily burdensome on universities or put off the brightest and the best students from studying in the UK.”

Read more in the full report below.

The Student Visa System: principles to reform



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