The manifesto outlines ten key principles and recommendations, which aim to not only make the UK a more desirable place for international students, but to also re-establish trust in the country, increase student numbers, and advance the standing and influence of the UK in the world.
We are now at a tipping point when we could rebuild our reputation or fall further behind
“The UK has a really good track record for welcoming and supporting international students but we believe that having been through some very rough water, and our reputation taken something of a knock, we are now at a tipping point when we could rebuild our reputation or fall further behind,” CEO of UKCISA, Dominic Scott, told The PIE News.
“And that the period running up to the election and soon after, which is going to see yet more rules and requirements introduced, could provide the space for the development of new policies and new thinking.”
International student recruitment is worth £14bn annually, but in 2012/13, there was a decline in the number of overseas students applying to higher education institutions in the UK – the first decline in 29 years.
While the figure has increased last year there is still concern that the UK is not taking advantage of this profitable sector.
Furthermore, recent changes including the mandatory immigration checks by landlords, and proposals including a new health service levy to be applied to students, are some of what the UKCISA is concerned about.
“It is no good if ministers merely say that ‘there is no cap on student visas’ and that the UK ‘welcomes the brightest and the best’ if the rules and guidance are so complex, which is why we have we addressed a ‘package’ of concerns,” Scott said.
“We also think that international students themselves, who place such huge investment and trust in the UK, want and deserve a voice and to know that many support their cause and understand their concerns.”
Key principles and recommendations from the manifesto. Credit: UKCISA