The Government are both clueless and complacent about the effects of their visa policy on universities, Cambridge Labour MP Daniel Zeichner today claimed.
Mr Zeichner has been contacted by a number of constituents saying Higher Education Institutions are so nervous about Home Office rules that this is preventing universities from enrolling foreign students. This means the UK is missing out on important income as students choose to study in other countries.
Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration rules state that the Higher Education Institution a student is studying at is liable for any possible overstaying by the student. Many students stay in the UK for up to 28 days after the end of their course under a 'grace period'. However this grace period is not agreed by all colleges leading to some applicants being automatically refused by higher education institutions if they have previously used the 28 day grace period after studying on another course.
Daniel Zeichner MP asked the Home Office what assessments have been made of the effect on universities of their financial liability for international students overstaying their visas. This revealed that the Home Office have made no assessment of the effect of the policy and have no data on the number of occasions on which universities have withdrawn offers from international students who have stayed in the country for up to 28 days under the visa grace period.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: "As MP for Cambridge I see first hand how international students contribute significantly to the UK’s universities. Our universities rely heavily on overseas students to boost research income and UK students benefit from a truly international learning experience. The Government's rhetoric on cutting immigration trumps all else. They can't be bothered to find out the effect of their policies that I fear mean Cambridge and the UK risk losing out on talented people and vital cash to other countries."