Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has today backed calls by Universities UK to reinstate post-study student visas, which would allow international students to take up employment in the UK for up to two years after graduating. This is in response to concerns that the stricter visa restrictions may limit the growth of international students coming to the UK to study and have consequences for the country as a global leader in higher education.
Mr Zeichner said: “We need to stem the decline in international students we have suffered since 2012, when Theresa May decided to get rid of the post-study student visa. I do not know why this Government has such distain for universities and higher education but it is one of our greatest exports and we should be doing everything we can to bolster its success not cause damage.”
“International students bring a whole host of benefits to the UK. They share knowledge with UK students, contribute to our local communities, are taught specialist skills that could be utilised by industries across the UK, not to mention provide economic benefits to this country to the tune of £20 billion a year.”
“Universities are already facing a number of challenges in the years ahead with the threat of leaving the European Union, which will impact the flow of research funding and the talent pool accessible to research institutes. The Government may wish to take the advice of experts on this when they are deciding the detail of their upcoming Immigration White Paper this autumn or it could cost the UK dearly.”
A post-study student visa was previously available to non-EEA international students prior to 2012 before the then Home Secretary Theresa May decided to permanently close applications. Data has revealed that although the UK remains the second most popular destination to study for international students, it saw the lowest growth of international students amongst the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and France, adding to concerns that the UK is no longer an attractive destination choice for students.