UK: PM Sunak to crack down on international pupils not in top universities?

LONDON: An Indian diaspora-led students’ organisation on Friday urged the UK government to remove international students from the country’s overall immigration statistics amid unconfirmed reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak may be considering a crackdown on foreigners granted study visas.
According to some UK media reports, Sunak is mulling a crackdown on foreign students bringing dependents and studying so-called low-quality degrees at mediocre UK universities after the country’s net migration figures hit record levels.
Downing Street has indicated that “all options” to bring overall migrant numbers down are on the table. The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) UK, which campaigns for streamlined provisions for Indian students studying in the UK, said any move to arbitrarily rank universities would prove counter-productive in the long run.
“Students who are in the UK temporarily, should not be counted as migrants,” said NISAU UK chair Sanam Arora. “International students, of which Indians are the biggest cohort, bring a net revenue of 30 billion into the British economy and go back as friends of the UK, furthering ties of trade, culture, and diplomacy. The UK’s higher education sector is one of our largest exports to the world, and we are hopeful that the government will ensure there is no arbitrary definition of what counts as a ‘top’ university,” she said.
The group called for a “creative and innovative policy solution” that addresses the UK’s skills and labour shortages through its international graduates.
The Universities UK International, which represents over 140 UK universities, also sounded a note of caution over any such policy moves.
The concerns arise in the wake of the latest Office for National Statistics figures this week revealing net migration to the UK rose from 173,000 in a year till June 2021, to 504,000 in a year – an increase of 331,000 post-Brexit.

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