Oxford University is encouraging potential Indian students not to be put off by changes to Visa regulations that mean fewer international students will be able to stay in the country after graduating.
The new rules mean that only those who have found work with a recognised employer will be allowed to stay on in the country after finishing their courses.
There are 350 Indian students currently studying at Oxford, and most of them are post graduates. The immigration minister Damian Green estimates that around 70,000 fewer student visas would be issued next year due to the recent changes.
Arghya Sengupta, president of Oxford’s 150 year old Indian Society, described the changes as “too drastic,” criticising what he sees as the “intellectually lazy approach” of “a blanket ban.” He suggested that “a more targeted immigration policy is desirable” and argued that Indian students “contribute to the British economy rather than hinder it”.
Students from outside the EU bring 9 billion pounds to the British economy each year as well as much needed revenue to universities. Sengupta added that he believed that the new policy means “several Indian students will re-assess their options regarding joining a British university”.
A spokesperson for Oxford University stated that the issue is one that affects all international students, not just Indians. The spokesperson said, “We would certainly encourage international students to continue to apply” and added that the University is confident that “students will continue to see the high value of an Oxford education.”
Despite the fact that international students will find it more difficult to find work in the UK, the spokesperson stressed the fact that “the high-level skills and knowledge students obtain at Oxford will give graduates a head start in any country.”
Prajwal Parajuly, an Indian student echoed this more positive outlook as “the kind of students” Oxford attracts would not be “discouraged to apply simply because of changes in the visa rules”.
Other universities are also worried about the changes. Umbrella group Universities UK commented, ‘We think some legitimate students may be being put off by the changes,” yet warned, “The message must be that the UK remains open to legitimate international students.”