The Evening Standard is reporting that London’s top universities have claimed that reducing the number of foreign students would harm Britain’s economy.
Leading institutions including UCL, King’s College and the London School of Economics said they were “hugely concerned” over a proposal to almost halve the number coming from overseas to reduce immigration figures.
In a joint letter to the Evening Standard, they called on ministers to stop treating students as a “soft target” in the row over immigration and to demonstrate that they are welcome instead.
Reports this month suggested the Home Office was considering cutting the number of international students from 300,000 to 170,000 under tougher new visa rules. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Conservative Party conference in October that she wanted to clamp down on those who are taking “lower quality” university courses.
The number of foreign students travelling to the UK over the past year has dropped by 30,000, delivering a blow to London’s university sector, which relies on the higher fees they pay.
Mark Hilton of business group London First — which gathered the signatories from among its membership — said international students contributed a huge amount to the UK economy.
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