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Consular news – Embassy 32

Foreign students still welcome

International students remain “integral and important” to British universities a gathering of education attachés was told by Universities UK CEO Nicola Dandridge.

Speaking at the Embassy Education Conference, Ms Dandridge said she was concerned that negative publicity surrounding recent changes to the UK student visa system had created a “misleading” impression that foreign students were no longer welcome in the UK.

She added there was “absolutely no evidence” to suggest that a hike in international student fees would follow the tripling of fees for ‘home’ students.

The new visa rules – which include  tougher English language requirements, tighter restrictions on post-study work and the ability to bring dependents – were “robust but sufficiently generous” and should not deter “legitimate” students, she added.

Ms Dandridge was keen to quash rumours that the Coalition Government was going to impose an arbitrary cap on foreign students and said her organisation was lobbying hard to remove international students from migration statistics so that they were not targeted in counter-immigration drives by the government.

Responding to concerns that international partnerships in developing countries would tail off, she said she anticipated more “in-country provision” through sophisticated IT and the building of overseas campuses. “This is cheaper for students, they are more likely to use their skills in their own country and it is more sustainable for the environment,” she said.
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