A call for the rules around student visas to be loosened

West & North Yorkshire Chamber today calls for the rules around student visas to be loosened to allow for more of the brightest students around the world to study in Yorkshire and Britain.

Recent changes to the way Graduate Visas are granted are included in recent Government policy to cut migration numbers.

However, universities believe that this will slash Britain’s ability to benefit from the planet’s finest minds who will find coming to the UK to study to be more problematic, something that will have an impact on our economy.

Higher Education currently accounts for 77 per cent of our country’s research and innovation activity and a significant proportion of our start up community is born from joint innovation projects between the university and private sectors.

The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) generates £8.30 for every £1 of funding and the HE sector is the second largest investor in research in the UK, spending £5.6billion on research in 2021.

Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that as many as half of international students would be minded to study elsewhere owing to the graduate visa programme changes, something that PwC modelling suggested would lead to four in five British universities running deficits by 2026.

Most of this investment is generated by tuition fee income from international students. Fewer international students will mean reduced investment in R&D.

As such the Chamber believes that the current Government policy needs to change.

Sarah Czarnecki, president of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our Higher Education sector is one of the jewels in the crown of British life and the brightest students from across the world dream of studying from our universities.

“We are blessed to have two superb universities in York which, each year, produce first class research and graduates.

“This, in turn, leads to growth in our economy and attracts investment from both within the region and beyond. In order for this record of achievement to continue, we call strongly for the Graduate Visa rote to be amended to allow more students to come to our universities.

“As a sector, universities are currently battling stagnant fee rates and potentially dwindling student intakes owing to tightened immigration policies. As a Chamber, we want to see the significant proportion of our workforce that relies on this influx from abroad for their livelihoods protected and allowed to flourish.”

The Chamber also recently lent its support to lobbying from Leeds Beckett University to the Chancellor on the same issue.

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