(We have addressed this issue recently and some of this blog is repetitious, but until a sensible approach is taken it needs to be referred to again and again)
Best Student Cities 2018
- Hong Kong
- New York
- Buenos Aires
This begs the question as to why those who drafted the UK Immigration Rules would go out of their way to stop talented students from pursuing multiple undergraduate degrees or multiple masters degrees in the UK.
Change may be afoot in the future with Amber Rudd (the then Home Secretary) revealing in October 2017 that the Law Commission had been tasked with ‘cleaning up’ the Immigration Rules. The Law Commission has stated its aim of redrafting the Immigration Rules in an attempt to make them simpler and more accessible. It is to be hoped that what Amber Rudd began will be completed by the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who has promised a fresh approach.
The Law Commission may wish to look at the Immigration Rules relating to students, which currently only permit second undergraduate degrees in a restricted number of cases, and which are defined as ‘academic progression’ in the Immigration Rules. With an increase in life expectancy, many students are pursuing second undergraduate degrees such as maths and law or chemistry and physics, English and law, maths and Computer Science etc.
Foreign students are not permitted to do this as this falls outside the definition of ‘academic progression’. When did restricting education and advancement become a goal of the respective political parties in the UK? This approach is detrimental to the UK economy for a number of reasons:
1) It starves UK universities of much-needed foreign student fee revenue, leading to UK domestic students having to borrow money for university fees at high interest rates, thus tying them up in debt for years after leaving university;
2) It prevents the brightest and the best pursuing their education in the UK before being groomed to become the captains of industry in their own countries;
In view of Brexit and the UK’s desire for free trade agreements to encourage trade and business from abroad, it might have occurred to those designing the policies relating to students that it may be advisable to encourage the students (mentioned in 2 above) to spend some time in the UK.
The logic of discouraging those who will in time have considerable influence over their countries’ selection of foreign advisors, the purchase of foreign services, the purchases of foreign equipment (where the UK, once a world player, is struggling for entry to those markets, or to maintain and/or expand their presence), from spending their formative years in the UK is totally illogical and defies belief. Encouraging them to experience non-UK products and services and even to feel some antipathy or even hostility towards the UK, as they are either denied the opportunity to pursue their university education in the UK or alternatively they have to uproot themselves from the UK after pursuing their secondary education in the UK because they wanted to pursue two undergraduate degrees or a Masters (or both) before commencing work, seems entirely counter-productive. We have encountered cases where bright students have moved to study in the US, benefiting US universities with their intellect and fees.
This leads to the inevitable conclusion that both parties waive the Changes to The Immigration Rules through the House of Commons without reading them, as no one from either party appears to have raised strong objections to these rules or objected to the obvious detrimental effect they may cause. Even after articles like the one cited below, the Immigration Rule regarding academic progression remains in force, whilst domestic students suffer from penalty interest rates on student loans and universities cry out for funding or increases in the fees paid by domestic students (or both!). The scaremongering about foreign students overstaying in the UK has been proved to be categorically wrong by statistics from the Office of National Statistics, as summarized by the FT.
There are a number of cases where the rules can and must be clarified and updated, as well as radically changed.
Gherson are experts in dealing with UK immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.