Amid a warned new UK points-based immigration system, the Coronavirus pandemic, and Brexit, the UK government expects a decline of 20 per cent in the number of students from European Union Member States enrolled at UK universities this year.
Other evaluations predict an even greater potential loss in the number of overseas talents interested in studying in the UK, Erudera College News reports.
Alarmed by the situation, Universities UK (UUK) which represents 139 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has urged the government to undertake the necessary measures in order to ensure the UK remains attractive for foreign students.
“The introduction of a new points-based immigration system from January 1, 2021, is expected to result in a significant decline in the number of students from European countries learning in the UK. This comes at a time when universities are facing the continued challenges posed by COVID-19,” the UUK warns.
In a press release, the UUK notes that the student route which opened on October 5 to replace the current Tier 4 visa, will help to facilitate the immigration process for international students, as, through it, students will be eligible to apply for their entry clearance applications, so they can enter the UK from January 1, 2021.
In order for the UK to lure more international students, the UUK outlines five key steps which they believe the UK must undertake in order for the demand of EU and international students not to decline in the future:
- Continuous promotion of the new student route so that all international students are well-informed of the changes being introduced
- The improvement and extension of the Study UK campaign into key markets in the EU by coordinating existing campaigns and increasing investment in Study UK to £20 million a year
- Providing targeted financial support for EU students, i.e. through an expanded or newly developed EU scholarship offer
- Lowering immigration route application costs
- Committing to continually reviewing immigration requirements in light of the COVID-19 pandemic
According to Vivienne Stern, the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi) which represents UK higher education institutions (HEIs) globally, it is time for the UK to show how much it values EU students.
“At this very moment, European students are looking at their options for autumn 2021. We need to work hard to make sure the UK is attractive. That means providing clear information, working harder to promote the UK, and offering new forms of financial support,” she said.
Data shows that one-third of the over 450,000 students from overseas who study at UK universities each year are nationals of the European Union Member States.