British universities have called upon the United Kingdom government for a “new immigration policy” in a bid to encourage foreign students to choose the UK for higher education, Press Trust of India reported.
Speaking to PTI, the President of Universities of UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent Dame Julia Goodfellow said, “The UK government continues to count international students as long-term migrants in its target to reduce migration. There is a continued pressure to reduce their numbers, adding to the perception that they are not welcome here.”
The universities urged the British government to “drop international students from its annual target of immigration cuts”. “If the UK wants to keep its spot of the top destination for international students, it would need to formulate a new immigration policy which prompts students to choose UK as their study destination,” Goodfellow said.
She stressed the importance of sending a “welcoming message to talented people from across the world” post-Brexit. “At the same time, competitor countries such as the USA and Australia have seen increases. Both countries open their arms to international students and classify them as being non-permanent or temporary residents in their immigration systems.”
The move comes after recent figures showed a “worrying decline” in international applications following post-Brexit sentiments that foreigners were unwelcome.
A report released by UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency [HESA] earlier year showed a 9 per cent decline in Indian applicants between 2015-16. “India saw the largest percentage decrease, at 44 per cent between 2011/12 and 2015/16.
In numbers, this meant that in 2015/16, the number of student enrolments domiciled from India was 13,150 less than in 2011/12. It is worth noting however, that the decline in student enrolments domiciled from India began a year earlier, in 2010/11,” the agency said.
This article originally appeared in the NDTV.