Archives for category: visas

On 4 July this year, the government’s student visa restrictions came into place. The new rules limit the number of dependents students can bring with them, curb their work entitlements during study, reduce their ability to stay on after they graduate, and require them to demonstrate a proficiency in English on arrival. They also impose stringent new conditions upon organisations seeking to gain ‘highly trusted’ sponsor status.

Despite the fact that the international student market is estimated to be worth £40 billion to the UK economy, these measures are aiming to reduce the numbers of foreign students coming into the country each year by up to 80,000 (or 25%).

The madness of this policy in a time of austerity has been highlighted by Nick Jordan among others … but the impact the changes will have on university recruitment is not yet known … read the rest of this post at

At the start of April the coalition government introduced an immigration cap that makes it incredibly difficult for academics from outside the EU to secure the right to work in Britain. Now the government is recommending new immigration restrictions.

Under proposals announced a fortnight ago, migrants coming to the UK to work on temporary work visas will no longer be able to apply for settlement. “We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK,” says the Immigration Minister Damian Green, ‘make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home.’ Indeed, according to the proposed changes, most Tier 2 migrants – those holding skilled employment – will be able “to stay for a maximum of five years with the expectation that they and any dependants will leave at the end of that time.”

Of course ‘certain categories of Tier 2 migrant, for example those earning over £150,000 or occupations of a specific economic or social value to the UK’ –in other words, bankers, lawyers and Tory party donors – will retain an automatic route to settlement, but it looks likely that academics and higher education professionals will once again be left out in the cold. In effect, this policy makes it unlikely that permanent jobs (with the exception of the very highly paid or those deemed ‘exceptional’) will be offered to applicants from outside the EU. Without the right to apply for settlement, under these rules academics from the United States, India, China or Australia will think twice before applying for a job in Britain.

This will have dire consequences for universities. But the ramifications of this policy are not only restricted to higher education. It affects us all. To this government, people are economic units to be moved around the global checkerboard. They do not have children, fall in love, or buy houses; they do not teach, nurse, serve, write, or create, thereby enriching this country’s community and economy in ways that are complex, important and real.

This proposal should worry everyone who has a relative, a friend, or a co-worker who has come to this country and made a life here. Go to the website and fill out the public consultation survey now.

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A version of this post was published as ‘Why the immigration cap spells trouble for universities’ at on 6 April, 2011.

On 6 April 2011 the Coalition Government’s permanent immigration cap will come into force. Sportspeople, intercompany transfers and Ministers of Religion will not be affected. Academics, on the other hand, will be screwed.

This policy will reverse the centuries old practice that has seen foreign scholars flock to this country, bringing with them skills that have benefitted British science, industry and culture in ways that are impossible to quantify. It heralds the beginning of a brain disdain that will have enormous consequences for universities in Britain.

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