Sunak’s plans to restrict foreign students could bankrupt UK universities: Experts – Times of India


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LONDON: Experts warn that UK PM Rishi Sunak‘s plan to curb international student intake could bankrupt UK universities. Sunak has mooted plans to curb the number of international students and their family members coming to the UK after net migration hit a record high this year of half a million, largely driven by visas granted to non-EU students and their dependents.
There were 1,17,965 student visas granted to Indian nationals in the year ending June 2022, an increase of 80,569 (215%) compared to 2019. In total there were 4,86,868 sponsored study visas granted, a 71% increase on 2019.
Asked if the PM is considering a ban on foreign students coming to the UK, the PM’s deputy spokesperson said: “Of course, we’re looking at these figures in detail and we’ll be considering all options to ensure that the immigration system is delivering to the British people. That includes looking at the issue of student dependents and low-quality degrees.”
But Professor Brian Bell, chairman of the UK government’s migration advisory committee, warned curbing international students would make British universities bankrupt. “Most universities for most courses lose money on teaching British students and offset that loss by charging more for international students. If you close down the international route, I am not sure how the university continues to survive. Are you willing to massively increase the fees that British students pay to offset the losses,” he told BBC Radio 4.
The number of dependent visas granted to those on sponsored study visas increased to 81,089 in the year ending June 2022 (up by 65,042), a 405% increase on 2019. Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities, said: “The fact that our universities attract students from around the world is an asset for the UK. Proposals that limit or restrict that asset would be a mistake, damaging local economies and contradicting the government’s own international education strategy.”

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