UKCISA raises concerns over the proposed Immigration Bill and its effect on international Tier 4 students
Between 2012-13 we saw a drop in the number of non EU HE students, and now, there is a drop of 25% for students from India, and of 19% for students from Pakistan, according to HESA.
More worrying is the negative impact the proposed changes by the Immigration Bill could have on the number of Tier 4 students applying to study in the UK. The three proposals within the Bill are:
· Abolition of appeal rights and their replacement with a system of ‘administrative reviews’
· Immigration checks by landlords
· Introduction of Health Services Levy
The abolition of appeal rights could have an adverse effect on Tier 4 international students studying in the UK; students may be forced to pay additional costs to repeat the application process instead of waiting for reconsiderations due to time restrictions. UKCISA (UK Council for International and Student Affairs) has stated it is “…urging the government to retain rights of appeal for all Tier 4 international students…” as there is no evidence of them abusing the current appeals system.
The proposal for landlords to carry out extensive immigration checks on student tenants is causing concern that many students will be deterred from studying in the UK. First off, the immigration documents required by landlords may not be readily available for students whose visas are being processed, leading to them being unable to secure accommodation in the UK before arrival. Timely checks including a tenant’s immigration status, would duplicate a process which is already carried out by the ‘sponsoring’ educational institution. Lastly, there are major concerns that landlords will discriminate against international students.
The third proposal is to charge students coming to the UK for more than 6 months without permanent residence, a “modest contribution towards possible use of health services”. However, BIS has stated that international students already contribute (through their full cost education, VAT payment and living expenses) an estimated £13.6 bn annually.
The NUS is currently carrying out a survey to find out if these measures will affect international students choosing whether to come and study in the UK (closing date 31 January – report to follow).
All in all, students are likely to be put off studying in the UK to some extent due to these tighter restrictions, and UKCISA has stated that “…this will be damaging to the UK’s reputation and economy…” We want to know if your college has been (or is likely to be) affected by these proposed changes and if your students are raising their concerns. Please send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org