Immigration in the long term into the UK by foreign students has declined to its lowest point since 2007, indicating that stricter restrictions on them have had an impact.
This was noticed in the decline in migration numbers of people from outside the EU, as per numbers published by the Office for National Statistics of the UK. The numbers for this year fell by six percent to 222,609 in March. Applications to study further at other educational institutions fell by 16 percent to 20,770 in this year to March. A three percent fall was noticed in visa applicants at independent schools to 13,951.
This is considered to be an outcome of rules which were introduced in 2011 to put an end to student visa abuses. These, in turn, have made it difficult for educational institutions to sponsor foreign nationals from outside the EU. People opposed to this policy were of the view that tougher anti-immigration stance is deterring genuinely high-quality students from coming to the UK.
Meanwhile, others have been discouraged from applying for the UK visas owing to the changes made in 2012, which prevents them from staying for longer periods and working for two years after having completed graduation.
These figures could become a cause for concern for educational institutions in the UK, which are witnessing fall in foreign student numbers, even as there is a growing market for overseas students outside the UK globally.
James Pitman, the Study Group Higher Education Division Managing Director, said that the fall was significant as the number of non-EU students wanting to study abroad was growing at a minimum of six percent every year.
When countries like Australia were launching new overseas student strategies, Britain has been indiscreetly toughening visa regulations and employment opportunities.
Students most affected by these rules were said to be citizens of India, Iraq, Nigeria and Libya, among others.