UK's international business students in 'sharp decline' says report

UK business schools are suffering a “sharp decline” in international student numbers due to a change in student visa policy in the UK says a recent report from the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS).

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According to the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) the recent tightening of visa regulations for international students seeking to work in the UK after graduation has meant that many international students are being put off applying for a place at a UK Business School.Typically, international students studying business – the most popular course for overseas students in the UK – contribute £2.4 billion to universities and the UK economy. But, says the report, these figures are now in decline with a fall of almost 9 per cent.Back in March 2011, the government introduced new visa regulations for international students looking to work in the UK after graduation, including the requirement for overseas graduates to find a position with an employer willing to pay a salary of at least £20,000 within four months of graduation. English language competence was also tightened up with the government requiring international students to have an ‘upper intermediate’ level of English.Commenting on the findings, Phil Baty, editor of the THE (Times Higher Education) European University Rankings said, “Not only are our restrictive immigration policies and noisy rhetoric leading many students to perceive they are not welcome in the UK, we are also seeing the increasing popularity of European universities which are often just as highly ranked as their UK competitors but also much, much cheaper to study with. [International students] spend about £4.5 billion on tuition fees and accommodation alone, but they also add much to the overall student experience by supporting a rich, multicultural campus life for all students.”The report suggests that the issue could be even more serious when it comes to postgraduate programmes, such as the MBA, where 52 per cent of students are from outside the EU. CABS estimates that these students alone are worth over half a billion pounds per year in fees to UK universities.“Not only are we turning away investment,” said Professor Simon Collinson, CABS Chair, “we are turning away international talent. These skilled, entrepreneurial and globally mobile students are the leaders of tomorrow and the UK’s immigration policies should be designed to attract them so that our universities and our economy can benefit from the diversity and added value they bring.”The report has received support from key university and business bodies including the CBI, Universities UK and the UK India Business Council.

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