The government’s hardening of international student visa rules could cause long-term damage to Britain’s universities and cost £2.4bn over the next decade, a study claims.
Research by Universities UK, which lobbies on behalf of British higher education, warns that the visa restrictions may mean many more overseas students choose to study in the US and Canada rather than the UK, taking £350m a year in lost revenue with them.
“Such a change would not be easily reversed and, as seen in other higher education systems, the effects can endure across several academic years,” the group says in its annual report, published on Wednesday.
The research cites the recent experience of Australia tightening its student visa rules, with the value of Australia’s higher education earnings falling 5% between 2010 and 2011.
“This could put the UK’s strong position within the global education market at risk and lead to a reduction in exports to the value of £2.4bn across the entire [UK] education sector between 2012-13 and 2024-25,” the report concludes.