In its position paper, UKCISA outlined 15 key steps the UK government and international education sector should take to make the UK “the world’s most attractive destination for international students”.
“We can ensure international students feel welcomed”
Among the steps, UKCISA is asking for the government to:
- Extend and expand flexibility in the visa and immigration system in light of Covid-19 e.g. prioritising international students’ visa applications as VACs reopen
- Review the implementation of new immigration rules for EU/EEA/Swiss students – and extend the transition period until January 2022
- Communicate a clear message of welcome to all international students in the UK at every level of study
- Contribute to an excellent student experience and create a lifelong connection to the UK
Additionally, it is looking for the government to delay the implementation of the planned increase to the NHS Immigration Health Surcharge for international students (currently scheduled for 1 October) to minimise disruption for students.
“By putting the international student experience at the heart of policymaking, we can ensure international students feel welcomed – from when they start their visa application process, to arriving in the UK – enjoy an excellent academic experience, and create a lifelong connection with the UK,” noted UKCISA.
Following the publication of the paper position paper, student ambassadors Nebu George, Yunyan Li, and Rex Bechu explored the key points in a webinar with Anne Marie Graham, UKCISA chief executive, and Julie Allen, director of Policy and Services.
“The cause for optimism is we know the government is, in essence, very positive about international students,” noted Graham.
Last year, the UK government published its International Education Strategy which set goals of increasing international student numbers by 30% and boosting the economic impact of the industry to £35 billion annually by 2030.