Societies, Events and Activities Officer, Cosimo Montagu, has put together a Submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee, on behalf of the Students’ Union, in reply to the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) Student Immigration System paper.
The purpose of the Submission is to highlight the importance of international students to Cardiff University, and put forward international students’ opinions on proposals that could affect them.
The proposed UKBA plans seek to cut down the number of international students who annually attend UK universities, in a bid to reduce the number of migrants in the UK.
Back in December of last year, the UKBA published a list of proposals that intend to reduce annual net migration by targeting the student population, which represents the largest proportion of net migration from outside Europe.
Notable proposals from the paper include the introduction of tougher entry criteria for international students, ensuring that international students return overseas after their studies and limiting their rights to work during term time.
In her foreword to the paper, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May, states: “It is clear that the government’s aim to reduce net migration will not be achieved without careful consideration and action on the non-economic routes including students.”
In response, CUSU has collated key information that shows how important international students are to Cardiff University.
Currently, Cardiff University represents a total of over 3,400 full-time international students.
The Submission notes how “it is estimated that upwards of £40million will be raised from international students in 2010/11” – an increase from the 2008/09 figures in which international students are said to have brought in over £29million to the University.
In addition, the Submission states how, in 2009, international students contributed £2.4million to the local economy – a figure that could decrease if international students are restricted to only work on university on campus during term time, as the UKBA paper proposes.
Currently, Cardiff University has over 2,200 international students studying on postgraduate courses, a number that is in danger of decline if the proposals are passed. The UKBA are seeking to make it a requirement that international students must return home and re-apply for a visa if they wish to undertake a Masters course or PhD.
In the Submission, a Malaysian undergraduate student notes how the proposed change could hinder their chance to further pursue their studies: “It may not be possible to get a visa in time for the next course.”
The UKBA paper also seeks to clamp down on students who are accompanied by their dependants.
As current law stands, students studying in the UK for more than six months can be accompanied by their dependants, however, the government wish to extend this to more than 12 months.
In response, the CUSU Submission recommends that the government do not raise the time needed to bring dependants into the UK.
Furthermore, it appeals for the visa extension period to take into consideration the application process for postgraduate courses.
The views from a Cardiff University spokesperson
How will the changes to the Student Immigration System affect Cardiff University if implemented?
At this stage it is difficult to know what the impact of any changes to the UKBA regulations will be on the University and we will need to await the outcome of the consultation and subsequent proposals.
How important are internatioanl students to Cardiff University?
International students play a key role in helping the University build international links and partnerships. A cap on numbers will restrict the University’s ability to recruit among the world’s most talented students and it will undermine the growing global reputation of Wales.
Do international students pose any potential costs for the University?
Any additional costs which may apply to some international students, such as administering and providing English Lanaguage support, are met by the international student fees or by additional fees for specialist courses.