Plans to reduce number of visas has “ugly taste of apartheid”: VC of the University of East Anglia

Would ruin pre-university pathway courses and cost the country billions of pounds in tuition fees and other income. 18th February 2011: A vice-chancellor has warned government plans to refurbish the immigration system and drastically reduce the number of visas amount to a hostile act against Britain’s varsities.
According to the vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Edward Acton, the plans contain elements of “ugly taste of apartheid”.

In a report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, Acton has asserted that the proposals on Tier 4 student visas would ruin pre-university pathway courses. Not only this, it would cost the country billions of pounds in tuition fees and other income.

Claiming the plans are founded on “thoroughly unreliable” data, he said at the immigration data used by the government after being collected from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) is thoroughly untrustworthy.

The assertion comes soon after the coalition government carried out a consultation on the plans for student visas in December and January. The new restrictions are expected to come into force in March or April.

Prof Anton said the varsities would be willing to pay for a new and better exercise in an attempt to precisely gauge the effect of overseas student recruitment.

In the report `UKBA’s Proposed Restrictions on Tier 4 Visas’, he has written: “Should the Home Office be too nervous of the outcome to permit IPS to be subjected to such a test and insist on pursuing the current policy trajectory, the consequences will be dire.”

The measures would trim down the number of international students in the country by 75 per cent, and calculates that if the proposals had been implemented in 2005, the cumulative loss of income since then would add up to £12 billion.

The assertion is significant as foreign students boost the GDP, improve relationships with other countries, and create thousands of thousands of jobs.

The voices in favour of the foreign students can be heard loud and clear even now, though the eight-week national consultation on reform of the student route to the UK closed on 31 January.
It saw proposals being made to reduce the number of people coming to the UK to study at below degree level; and introducing a tougher English language requirement. In all, the consultation received more than 30,000 responses.

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