The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee held its first evidence session in light of the drop over the past two years in overseas students (especially from India and China) studying STEM (science, technology, engineering or maths) subjects in the UK.

Questions to be raised:

·         Have STEM student numbers dropped since the introduction of policy reforms on immigration?

·         Has the competitiveness of UK HEIs in attracting international STEM students changed in recent years?

·         Are international STEM students finding it hard to obtain work in the UK after completing their studies?

The reasons?

The Times Higher Education today reported that the Parliament are putting it down to the ‘India effect’ – the majority of students from India studying in the UK take STEM courses, particularly engineering, technology and computer science, and so the decline in students is hitting these areas hard.

Martin Williams, director of the international education industrial strategy at BIS, said that the exchange rate is a contributing factor given the low value of the rupee against the pound. He added that he presumed the withdrawal of the post study work visa in 2012 which entitled overseas graduates to work in the UK for two years would also have had an effect. The Home Office did not give evidence at the session.

Has your overseas student numbers been affected? Has you college had to adapt and alter programmes in light of this? What do you think will happen?