06 October 2011

Leading educator criticises UK student visa restrictions

One of the UK's top academics has lashed out at the Government'a tightening of immigration rules, claiming they pose a threat to the British tertiary education sector.

UK visa

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University has called on the UK Government to ease visa restrictions for international students and academics.

Oxford University Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton has used the opportunity of his annual address to staff and students to call on the Government to ease UK visa restrictions for students and and academic staff.

"Difficulties over visa applications as a result of current regulations and restrictions – and I could detail a number of examples from recent months –  threatens to affect adversely the acadmic health of the university," he said.

Professor Hamilton said that making it easy for foreign academics to work in the UK is key in ensuring a high level of tertiary education, and by extension would have a positive impact on the economy.

"New lower limits on the numbers of international academics we can recruit or retain poses serious risks — both scholarly and economic”, he said.

Hamilton cited the example of the post-9/11 crackdown on student visas in the United States and the long-term slump this engendered in the US education market.

“Restricting the free flow of the brightest and best academics and students is an area where heeding the experience of the US may serve us well,” he said.

However, the response of the Government to concerns over student visa restrictions was warmly embraced by the Vice-Chancellor.

“I am pleased at the recent assurances given by ministers over their willingness to work with the higher education sector and with the UK Border Agency to remove what have been described as obstacles to the essential business of global intellectual exchange".

UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their Life in the UK test.

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