The new points-based immigration system of the UK government has created a massive uproar in UK Universities. Moreover, there is a valid reason behind this.
The New UK Immigration System Is Expected to Hit Universities Financially
The UK government has introduced a new points-based immigration system to mitigate the Covid-19 outbreak. If everything goes according to the plan, the UK government will implement the new points-based immigration system from January 1, 2021. The government expects that the new immigration system will sharply decline in international students’ number henceforth.
The Universities UK (UUK) that encompass 139 universities from Northern Island, England, Scotland and Wales are panicked with the Brexit, the UK government’s new points-based immigration system. They believe that it would drop international students’ footfall from European Union Member States by 20%. They also expect to incur a massive loss from another sector.
Thousands of international students apply to UK universities every year. They want to study in the top UK colleges. As such, they are ready to pay a reasonable amount for doing their higher studies. However, after implementing the new immigration points system, international students will be less interested in studying in UK Universities. This means less revenue for UK Universities.
Pandemic and remote learning have already affected UK Universities financially. They are already facing many challenges. The new points-based UK immigration system is expected to create new roadblocks for UK Universities. As such, they are panicked and frustrated.
UK Universities Have Made a Fresh Appeal to the Government
From a financial standpoint, UK Universities will incur a loss if there is a drop in international students’ numbers. As such, they have appealed to the UK government to support EU-EAA students. They have requested the government to take less stringent measures to attract international students and maintain the Universities’ financial stability.
The UUK Universities have issued an official statement recently. They have said that the UK government’s new points-based immigration system is expected to not go well with European countries’ students. If the new immigration system is imposed in January 2021, then many UK colleges’ financial future will be bleak. EU-EAA students are less likely to come to the country and study. This will affect the financial health of UK colleges. Covid-19 has already affected colleges badly. The new immigration will aggravate the economic problems of UK Universities.
The UKK Universities have issued a press release recently to express their concerns for the EU-EAA students. They have even proposed a few steps that the UK government can take to attract international students. International students help to strengthen the overall economy of the country. So, they have come with five action steps that the UK government can take to attract and support the EU and other international students.
The UUK Universities have expressed their happiness over the fact that the student route has opened on October 5, 2020. The student route will replace the present Tier 4 Visa and support international students. They will go through a smooth immigration process. Plus, the eligible students can apply for their entry clearance applications. They can get into the UK from January 1, 2021.
UKK’s Fresh Proposal for the UK Government to Support Students
The UKK Universities have proposed five action steps to the government to attract international students. Let’s discuss them one by one.
1. The UK government should continuously update the new student route so that international students know what is going on. They must know what kind of changes are coming in the future.
2. The UKK government must take steps to reduce the immigration route application expenses. Many students have endured financial loss due to the pandemic. Many of them cannot visit the UK if the immigration route application cost is too expensive.
3. The UK government should take measures to support EU students financially. For example, they can do it through an extensive EU scholarship offer. The situation is challenging both for the students and the Universities due to the pandemic. As such, they need financial support from the government.
4. The UKK Universities feel that the UK government should review the immigration eligibility criteria due to the pandemic. They should adopt a sympathetic attitude toward international students.
5. The UK government should improve the Study UK campaign. They should also extend the campaign into the prime markets in the EU in two ways. First, they should increase their investments in the campaign to £20 million a year. Secondly, they should improve the present Study Uk campaign.
The Director of Universities UK International (UUKi) feels that the UK government should show EU students’ solidarity. It is high time the government does that to prove how much they care for EU Students.
Vivienne Stern recently said that,
“At this very moment, European students are looking at their options for autumn 2021. We need to work hard to make sure the UK is attractive. That means providing clear information, working harder to promote the UK, and offering new forms of financial support,”
Vivienne is right. International students are exploring their options for autumn 2021. Suppose the government does not promote the student campaign, reduce the immigration route application costs, give constant updates, and offer student scholarships. In that case, EU students are less likely to study in UK Universities. That is for sure.
As per the recent figures, the European Union Member States students constitute one-third of the 450,000 international students who study in UK Universities.
UKK University’s concerns cannot be overlooked. International students are suffering. The Universities across the globe are bearing the financial onslaughts of Covid-19. As such, they need international students and money to survive. Otherwise, thousands of teachers may become unemployed in 2021.