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  • The Times reported that strategies to lower the number of students may include restricting visas for students’ dependents and limiting admission to prestigious universities. After record levels of net migration were published, ministers were apparently debating how to lower flows to the U.K.
    • The number of family members the students are allowed to bring into the country will also be limited, the article said. Additionally, only foreign students who are not currently residents of the UK will be subject to the requirements.
      According to the Office for National Statistics, 1.1 million individuals entered the United Kingdom in the year leading up to June, while 560,000 left, bringing net migration to a record 504,000 people.
    • The government’s 2019 International Growth Strategy, which aimed to expand the number of international students studying in the U.K. each year to 600,000 by 2030, appears to be at odds with the alleged plans to discourage foreign students from attending British universities.
    • According to the Higher Education Statistics Department, that goal was attained in the academic year 2020–21, when more than 605,000 students from outside the United Kingdom enrolled in higher education.
    • According to the government website, the policy was initially implemented to “assist the UK education industry to tap worldwide opportunities.”
      The Home Office refused to comment on the “speculation” that international students would be denied entry to the UK, according to a spokesperson.
    • According to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, there have been complaints about international students in the past about their “bringing in family members who can rely on their student visa” and “propping up, honestly, inferior courses in unsuitable institutions.”
    • However, there might be opposition in other parts of Whitehall to measures to reduce the number of international students.
    • Although politicians are strict on immigration, there are more people coming in. Braverman: We have mismanaged our border security.
    • Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that immigration was necessary to promote prosperity and that there needed to be “a long-term plan” if migration was to be reduced in a way that didn’t impact the economy. “For the years ahead, that will be very significant for the economy,” he continued, “and migration will be needed.”
    • If the number of international students who pay high fees declines, the Department of Education can express worries about how colleges will be funded.
    • According to Professor Brian Bell, chair of the government’s migration advisory committee, this might “push many colleges over the brink,” particularly in poor locations.
    • Cash cows

    He said: “Most universities lose money teaching British students for most courses, so they make up the difference by charging more for international students.” “I’m not sure how the university will continue to exist if the international route is closed.” He wished London, Cambridge, and Oxford continued success, but asked, “What about Newcastle? What about the north-east? What about the north-west? And Scotland?” He also highlighted that the idea might cause British students’ tuition to “massively rise” in order to make up for the loss of payments from international students.

    • Given the lack of skilled workers in the nation, the National Union of Students (NUS) claimed it would be “laughable” if the government made it more difficult for foreign students to study in the UK. In addition to pushing the use of international students as “cash cows” through excessive prices and aggressive visa regimes, it accused ministers of “starving” higher education of funding.

    Number of international students at UK universities

    2016/17: 450,835 – 19.0% of total

    2017/18: 469,160 – 19.4%

    2018/19: 496,110 – 20.2%

    2019/20: 556,625 – 22.0%

    2020/21: 605,130 – 22.0%

    Tuition fees paid by international students to UK universities

    2016/17: £6.63bn – 37.3% of total

    2017/18: £7.37bn – 38.7%

    2018/19: £8.28bn – 40.8%

    2019/20: £9.41bn – 42.9%

    2020/21: £9.95bn – 42.4%