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University Alliance and sector partners call for reform of the student visa system

The government is being challenged to back-up its commitment to boosting international student numbers as UA joins five other Higher Education representative groups to propose changes to the new student visa system.

University Alliance, Universities UK, Guild HE, MillionPlus, the Russell Group, and UKCISA have come together to jointly produce the report which proposes changes which would benefit students, institutions and the Home Office.

The group jointly set out principles for reform and also call for specific actions to be taken across three key areas:

  • Improving the international student experience
  • Reducing the administrative burden
  • Increasing the reliability, transparency and accountability of the immigration system

Unless the actions set out in this briefing are taken, the six organisations are concerned about the government’s ability to meet its commitment to grow the number of international students studying in the UK annually to 600,000.

University Alliance Chief Executive Vanessa Wilson said:

“The tier 4 student visa system needs urgent reform. It is far too complex for both students and sponsors. In this post-Brexit world, our universities should be a bridge to international cooperation and we need a visa system that enables this. University Alliance supports an overhaul of the current system and fast.”

Former Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP said:

‘The UK will lose its world-beating position in the global higher education market if it does not improve its offer to international students. The proposals put forward in this briefing highlight a number of ways in which the Government could help make the UK a more attractive destination for international students.

“It is essential that well-meaning measures to prevent the exploitation of student visas do not become unnecessarily burdensome on universities or put off the brightest and the best students from studying in the UK.”