Changes to Tier 4 Student opposed by Universities

The Government has once again come under pressure over its plans to change Tier 4 of the Points Based System which is designed for International Students. 16 Professors from Universities around the country have put their names to a letter to the Observer in which they express “profound concern at the damage that would be caused to the UK economy and to our universities if the government’s proposals to reduce the number of international students coming to the UK are implemented”.

Letter to the Observer

We write to express profound concern at the damage that would be caused to the UK economy and to our universities if the government’s proposals to reduce the number of international students coming to the UK are implemented.

Universities are fully aware of public concern about abuse of immigration rules. Any abuse must be tackled robustly and Universities UK will co-operate fully in ensuring that cases of abuse are minimised. But evidence shows that international students in universities overwhelmingly do not abuse the system.

International students coming to universities contribute more than £5bn each year to the UK economy through tuition fees and off-campus expenditure. Reductions in student numbers will lead to reductions in income and jobs.

Without international students, many university courses, particularly science and engineering ones, may no longer be viable. This will in turn reduce the courses available to UK students. International students bring extensive cultural and political benefits to the UK. When they return to their countries at the end of their studies, they become cultural and economic ambassadors for the UK. At a time of financial austerity, this issue is of immeasurable importance to the UK.

  • Prof Steve Smith, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter
  • Prof Glynis Breakwell, vice-chancellor of the University of Bath
  • Prof Joy Carter, vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester
  • Prof Julian Crampton, vice-chancellor of the University of Brighton
  • Prof John Craven, vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth
  • Prof David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham
  • Prof Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire
  • Prof Michael Farthing, vice-chancellor of the University of Sussex
  • Prof Caroline Gipps, vice-chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton
  • Prof Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Prof Noel Lloyd, vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University
  • Prof Anton Muscatelli, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Glasgow
  • Prof Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of the University of Essex
  • Prof Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol
  • Prof Paul Wellings, vice-chancellor of Lancaster University
  • Prof Paul O’Prey, vice-chancellor, Roehampton University

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