Written evidence submitted by Goldsmiths
Students' Union (SV39)|
These reforms may impact on international student
numbers in the short term, but the lasting effects of these restrictions
will be substantial and crippling to the UK. By reducing the entitlements
that international students currently have and making it more
difficult for them to stay on for further study and work, will
diminish the attractiveness of UK Universities over others in
the world. The estimated amount that international students bring
to the UK economy ranges from £8.5 billion to £12.5
billion. £2.5 billion of that is generated through international
students' fees. UK Universities are praised for their multicultural
environments and these changes will also impact on the learning
experience of Home and EU students. These changes will impact
on the decisions of genuine students. The long-term damage to
the UK education system must be weighed up as a critical factor
hanging in the balance.
I'm the President of Goldsmiths Students' Union.
My role is to represent students at Goldsmiths, and to ensure
the best education and support for our current and future students.
1. Post-study work visa to be abolished
From speaking to our International students,
it is clear that the current option of the Post-study work visa
is an incentive to study in the UK. Not because they have the
intention of attempting to indefinitely live and work in the UK
but to broaden their experience. Goldsmiths is mainly an Arts
and Humanities institution, and our programmes in the Arts heavily
recruit international students. The Arts industry is global and
to have the opportunity to work within this industry in UK would
give graduates a wealth of experience and an international perspective
of the workings of the industry and I am sure this would apply
to many other industries. Abolishing this route would be detrimental
to potential students choosing to study in the UK, loosing them
to other countries with a better offering.
There are currently international students already
studying in the UK with the view to apply for the PSW visas, it
would be incredibly unfair to cut off this option to them midway
through their courses after they have spent tens of thousands
of pounds towards our universities already.
There were some international students that said
these changes "would make them feel unwelcome" and they
wouldn't choose to study in a country that would be happy to take
their money but not want them there.
The closure of the Tier 1 Post Study Work route would
contradict the 2009 conclusion of the independent Migration Advisory
Committee that the Tier 1 Post Study Work route, used by approximately
10% of all international students coming to the UK, be retained.
2. English language requirements to be raised
Pre-sessional English language courses (which are
offered by our institution) provide an exceptional route &
induction/integration into higher education, and play an important
part in enabling the HE sector to recruit international students.
We believe on both this issue and on the issue of whether students
should be allowed to apply at the same level we believe this is
a case of UKBA encroaching onto decisions that should be purely
academic, at the discretion of the University.
3. Going home to reapply to study in the UK
We believe that this proposal is wrong and will be
financially/socially detrimental to students. Not only will students
have to pay (and show that they can pay) the high prices of studying
and living in the UK, they will also have to have enough money
to travel back and forth to apply. This will definitely impact
on the types of students that will want to continue to study in
the UK. It will only be extremely wealthy students that will want
or be able to.
4. Dependents should only be allowed to come
to the UK with students studying for more than one year
Not allowing dependants to come to the UK unless
the student is studying for more then a year will discourage student
parents to apply to study here. This would put up barriers for
them to choose to come and study here. They may want to study
a pre-sessional or foundation course, which are usually nine months,
but students on these courses mostly progress onto another course,
pouring more money into the economy.
5. Working hours
We believe that the suggestion that students should
only be allowed to work being employed by external employers at
the weekend and only allowed to work on campus during the week
is ludicrous and arbitrary. The cost of living particularly in
London is very high, on top of that there are expenses that are
course related, reading material, stationary, art material. It's
hard to get a part-time job unless you are flexible, so this would
put international students at a disadvantage if applying to a
part-time job, when there are other more flexible candidates.
Many students, international and home/EU manage to balance work
and study. If you regulate where and when students can work, it
will make it harder for them to afford the additional costs of
study. This would affect their grades or retention rates, which
will impact on the reputation of HEI's and make it harder to recruit
6. The change in ratio of placements from
50:50 to 66: 33
This is again encroaching onto academic territory
and will disadvantage international students to their Home/EU
7. Whether admin procedures should be simplified
for low risk students
We think that admin procedures should be simplified
for all students. We are concerned about the separation of nationalities
as a way of defining who should get a simpler process. It is extremely
discriminatory. It also means that if it is harder for students
from particular countries to apply then there will be a less diverse
range of countries, this will lead to a culturally impoverished
studying environment. The multicultural studying environment is
often what the UK HE system has been praised for.
8. Should private institutions have tougher
We know from speaking to our students that inspecting
international students in either a public or private institution
will make them all feel like they are being treated as suspects.
This would make them feel incredibly uncomfortable and unwelcome.
We believe there should be tougher accreditation procedures for
institutions rather then inspections on students.
9. No more international students on courses
below degree level
Around half of foreign degree students actually begin
their studies here on below degree-level courses. Pre-sessional
and foundation courses allow students to gain a broad knowledge
base about their chosen subject area. Students are then offered
places at degree level. Changing this, will not only have an impact
on recruitment but also student retention. If a student is not
familiar with relevant knowledge or terminology they will struggle
to keep up with the course.
- For the Tier 1 Post Study Work route to be retained.
- English language requirements to be determined
by University Academics.
- Students should not be required to leave the
UK to re-apply
- Students should be allowed to be accompanied
by their dependants if enrolled on a course of 6 months or longer
- International students should be able to work
when they are able to around their studies.
- The ratio of placements to remain as they are
and be reviewed by University Academics.
- Admin procedure should be that same for all and
not discriminated against by their country of residence/origin.
- There should be tougher accreditation procedures
for institutions rather then inspections on students.
- International students should be allowed to apply
to courses below degree level.
59 720 international students of a total of 7,800 students
at Goldsmiths-HESA 08/09. Back