A coalition of UK associations at the university level, and a few support organizations, has urged the UK government, for improving the student visa system, in meeting its future goals. The goal is to get 600,000 global higher education students in the United Kingdom by 2030.
An urgent need for reforms
There is an urgent need for reforms in five areas as per the briefing document put together by Guild HE, Universities UK, Million Plus, University Alliance, the Russell Group, and UKCISA.
The document also states that this will be the first step in the co-development of a fresh immigration system; which enables a promising growth of international students while maintaining high compliance levels.
UUK and the partners outlined major principles that will form the basis of issuing the new student visa. Under the immigration system today global students face a visa system that is not adequate to meet their hopes and expectations.
Moreover there is a antagonistic environment in studying, and also while living and working in the Kingdom.
Theresa May was the home secretary April 2012, when these visa rules commenced and lowered immigration figures after reducing the intake of global students.
The road after leaving the European Union
The UK is in preparation of leaving the European Union, and there is a shift in focus to attract additional international students belonging to non-EU nations.
The International Education Strategy has also stated in a publication that the government will review the visa application process for global students and also aim to improve the process for students and sponsoring institutions.
The new process must be accessible, cost-effective; easy in navigation and also supports a diversified range of applicants. The focus must be to give a fine customer experience to the overseas students. It should finally be simple to administer for the government.
Universities must understand and navigate the new system easily, and the UK Visas and Immigration must be consistent in the decision making process. All the providers of higher education must be on equal footing and fair besides being fully transparent.
Steps for improving the customer experience
For improving the customer experience, credibility interviews must be phased out; and the costs must be proportionate and competitive. International students arriving in the UK need to pay high visa fees and also an annual Immigration Health Surcharge.
Present registration requirements, reporting to local police station and using Biometric Residence Permits need elimination. Also there are concerns regarding the strict attendance policy adopted by the universities for Tier 4 students.
Also there is a case for course change and work transition through the use of in-country visa applications.
Various prominent industry groups and education bodies have written a in a joint letter to the future Prime Minister for lowering the salary threshold that is proposed in the draft immigration legislation. It must be £20,000, instead of £30,000.
Better facilities for overseas students
Finally, there has to be a two-year, post-study visa for global students to work in Britain after completing the graduation. The ability to access global talent will reduce the risk of many world-class sectors.
The UK is in the final stages of leaving the EU and the government must introduce long standing measures that benefit the employers in recruitment the finest professionals. This will help in UK becoming an attractive and successful economy.