Engineering Opportunities

UK is sending out the 'wrong signal' to foreign students, warns London Mayor

Boris Johnson said new government restrictions are putting off international students from studying in Britain

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The government should not to be prejudiced against foreign students who want to study in the UK, warned the London Mayor today.

Boris Johnson said the new rules introduced by ministers to slash the number of bogus colleges sent out the “wrong signal”, which he said would hit the £2.5 billion revenue stream British universities earn from overseas students.

The mayor has been a vocal opponent of the new restrictions which include higher standards of English literacy, and refusing overseas graduates the right to stay in the UK unless they can secure a job with a salary above £20,000.

He said: “It's very important for our higher education economy that you have foreign students who contribute £2.5 billion a year in fees. Now that helps to subsidise the rest of the university sector - helps to pay for everybody else's education.

The Mayor also announced plans to set up a commission to examine whether the new restrictions are putting off foreign students from studying in UK.

Boris Johnson added: “We are going to set up with Government an Education Exports Commission to look at the issue to make sure we get the right message across so that if the government decides to make changes to the visa regime it doesn't do damage to a sector in which London is so strong and it is so valuable.”

“The policy on visas is, in my view, sending out the wrong signal. There are so many stipulations that we are starting to lose business to Australia, America and Canada.”

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