Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

UK Universities Risk Losing Foreign Students Post-Brexit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Theresa May emerges to speak to reporters after being confirmed as the leader of the Conservative Party and Britain’s next Prime Minister outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, central London, July 11, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

London-The higher education sector in the UK is well known globally for its quality and ability to attract brilliant students from all over the world. However, universities in the UK find themselves facing a challenge between coping with the new trend of migration policy after Brexit, which aims to control and reduce the number of migrants to Britain on the one hand, and maintaining their appeal to European and international students, on the other hand.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s statements on the new procedures that will be taken to reduce the number of migrants to the UK raised concerns among education circles of the government’s targeting of foreign students.

In this regard, local press reported that May sees universities an easy way for illegal immigration to Britain. She supported votes calling for narrowing the conditions of admission to universities and the granting of visas only for the best candidates.

In addition to closing fictitious universities and some weak language institutes, sources close to the matter confirmed that measures, which will be taken by May, will also include calling for accredited universities to stop marketing their programs as ways to get a job in Britain, and accelerating the process of foreign students’ return to their home countries immediately after the end of their studies.

The education sector in Britain represents a target for the migration policy, which May imposed after being handed the premiership from David Cameron, who resigned when he failed to convince the people to vote for the stay in the European Union.

Reducing the number of student immigrants has resurfaced after doubting May’s ability to control British borders and limit immigration rate to 100,000 annually instead of 300,000.

Spokeswoman for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Britain continues to receive the best and brightest international students in our prestigious universities. We are not aiming to put an end to the number of international students who want to study in Britain.”

In return, the spokeswoman stressed that the government is very clear regarding the need for international students to leave as soon as they finish their studies unless they succeeded in finding jobs in the United Kingdom.