Friday, October 26, 2012

Are postgraduate student policies damaging UK?

The Higher Education Commission has called for an urgent policy review on postgraduate students, which they say are the key to Britain’s continued success in an increasingly competitive, globalised world.

Why then are policymakers creating an environment – slow growth in UK jobs, closure of post study work visa (PSW) and clampdowns on international students and colleges - which is forcing postgraduates to take their skills elsewhere?

The report, published today by the Higher Education Commission highlights a range of issues, such as increasing fees, inactive banks and negative changes to UK Immigration that may ‘inflict significant damage on the health of the postgraduate sector’.

In addition rising tuition fees have hit Higher Education, especially the postgraduate sector where there are no state-backed student loans as there are for undergraduates. The continued reluctance of the banks to lend money, despite massive taxpayer input, has made the situation worse.

Britain is the “education outsourcing capital of the world”, the report states, but warns that more emphasis is needed on up-skilling of the UK population.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: "We must make the most of all our talents, and that is no less important in postgraduate studies which are now dominated by overseas students.

“It is vital that our brightest graduates are not priced out of postgraduate study. This is why the Sutton Trust has commissioned a new study on social mobility, which includes looking at access to postgraduate courses”

British students and workers must compete with the brightest and best from around the world, just as footballers have to fight for their place amongst the best international talent. However, the end result is the most exciting football league on the planet.

Whilst international Tier 4 students are vital in creating and retaining economic ties with other countries, some are concerned that many courses in universities are sustained by and reliant almost entirely on international students.

The government place an “annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work” which means that these courses and even universities may have close causing irreparable damage to “Britain’s research capacity”.

The report adds that the current postgraduate study policy is “out of step with Britain’s ambition to be the leading knowledge-based economy of the world, and also out of step with other countries that the UK is currently competing with”.

This damaging situation will worsen whilst students are including in government targets to more than halve net migration.

Earlier this month, the Russell Group warned that tougher visa rules are leading to a drop in international applicants.

As predicted by Immigration Matters, international students are spurning the UK’s most prestigious universities as a direct result of UK Border Agency's relentless immigration crackdowns.

UK universities in the Russell Group – which represents 24 top ‘red brick’ institutions, such as Oxford and Cambridge – are seeing a drop of up to 30 per cent in applications from Indian students for some courses.

In conclusion, the report advises policymakers to ‘take a holistic view of the English education system’, and calls on the ministers to “immediately establish a taskforce to examine the feasibility of a postgraduate student loan scheme and develop policy options, reporting by December 2013”.

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokeswoman said: "We recognise that there are some concerns in the sector about postgraduate provision. We have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England to monitor and review participation in postgraduate study as part of a longer term assessment of the impact of the funding changes."

It's a bit like trying to add an urgently needed runway at London Heathrow, the busiest international airport in the world.

Another inquiry, another report, and another day at the office for overpaid civil servants and ministers scratching their backsides and playing with figures but taking no action. By the time the current anti-immigration policies are reversed, the UK’s £40 billion international under graduate and post graduate student market will be in tatters.

See also:

UK overseas student market in danger of collapse after constant immigration crackdowns

High Court grants London Met University temporary injunction against licence revocation giving overseas students a stay of execution

London Metropolitan University ask High Court to block Tier 4 licence revocation

London Met student visa licence remains ‘revoked’ say UK Border Agency

UK University applicants drops 8.7% but non-EU students increase, UCAS figures reveal

New Tier 4 student visa rules now in force

Student visa crackdown damaging our reputation abroad, Universities UK warns



Post Study Work Visa to be abolished April 2012 as part of student visa clampdown

UK university setting up a memorial scholarship in memory of murdered Indian student

Can family dependants of Tier 4 Students work while studying in the UK?

Free service launched to help overseas students study at UK Universities

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2 working visa, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an Appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students for UK work study programmes. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.

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It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, it is important to ensure that your qualifications are recognised. In the UK there is a national agency that carries out this service, they are called UK NARIC.

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