Ease foreign student visa restrictions, Boris tells ministers

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has called on Government to protect London’s status as a leading global centre for education.

The newly introduced restrictions on student visas, such as limiting a student's right to work during and after their studies, may be having a damaging impact on the city's reputation and economy, the Mayor said.

Mr. Boris has written to Theresa May, the Home Secretary and Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, asking them to remove students from the Government’s net migration target and introduce new measures to better protect genuine students if sponsors lose their licences.

He also asked the Government to consider setting up an ‘Educational Exports Commission’, which would promote London’s universities abroad and help to secure the future of one of its greatest exports.

Mr. Boris said: "As Mayor I will do all I can to promote London as a place that is open for business and open to the brightest talent in the world. International students not only bring bright ideas that cement the reputations of our leading universities, they have huge spending power that boosts the UK economy.

"The Government is right not to open the door to those who will simply be a drain on the state, but it’s crazy that we should be losing India’s top talent and the global leaders of the future to Australia and the United States."

The Mayor, who is visiting India as part of a trade mission to promote London and highlight it as one of the best places to study, visited the Noida campus of Amity University, which also has a UK base at the Amity London Business School in Bloomsbury.

He took a tour of the Amity University site, south of Delhi, where he met with students, telling them that he would continue to lobby the British Government to ensure that London remains open for international students to come to study.

The Mayor also welcomed plans from Amity to further expand the University's London operation.

Atul Chauhan, Chancellor Amity University, said: "We will always be proud that Amity's first international campus was established in London three years ago. A great city where I have studied and worked for over six years. Located in a beautiful and listed building in Bedford Square in the heart of academic London, it is the only campus in the UK of an Indian education group.

"With the guidance of the Mayor, it is our aim to now establish a full-fledged Amity University Campus in London which will be a "Benchmark of Excellence" in education, research and innovation, attracting some of the best faculty, scientists and students from around the world."

Mr. Boris unveiled a new web portal as part of a partnership between LUIP and, one of India’s premier online job agencies. The new website will link Indian companies directly with highly skilled graduates who have studied in London. The site will offer graduates crucial advice on how to prepare CVs and interview technique, as well as a job matching service so Indian employers can seek out the talent they are looking for.

Gary Davies, Chair of LUIP, said: "Indian companies tell us that London graduates return home with a global perspective that helps narrow the cultural gap when working within a multi-national company. These returning students also bring a fresh perspective which adds value to their employer’s business as they tend to be more entrepreneurial – a perfect asset as India’s economy grows. The new portal is just the first step in an on-going partnership with Indian employers to provide them with the employees they need."

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