24 Oct 2016, 26 mins ago

The government’s current policy on immigration is said to be making foreign students “feel less welcome in the UK”.

The survey commissioned by Regent’s University London and carried out by YouthSight suggests that the “torrid” debate over immigration has damaged foreign student’s perception of the UK.

At the Global University Summit, Vince Cable was quoted as saying that the “public panic” over immigration is causing economic harm. Cable went on to say that overseas students are discouraged from studying at UK universities as the government hopes to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015.

The YouthSight survey shows that of the 500 overseas students questioned 52% have a negative perception to these cuts on migration. The caps on immigration are said to have created hostility and led to overseas students being less inclined to study in Britain.

Boris Johnson has claimed that overseas students are an important source of income, amounting to £870 million in tuition fees in London alone. Therefore, it is unsurprising that a third of foreign students agreed with the suggestion in the survey that “my university is only interested in the fees I pay”. These results will undoubtedly contribute to the prevailing attitude that overseas students feel undervalued and unwelcome in the UK.

The survey also suggests foreign student’s relationships with their peers is suffering with a quarter admitting they did not feel “part of the university community”. The survey shows that 40% of overseas students mostly spend time with other students from their country. Aldwyn Cooper, Vice Chancellor of Regent’s University explains that there is a “tendency in some institutions for overseas students to be left in de facto ghettos, rarely mixing outside their national groups”.

Despite the survey results showing that students are feeling a public hostility, nine in ten would still recommend studying in the UK and a majority of overseas students in fact said they felt welcome. Furthermore, despite claims that negative perception on immigration will alienate foreign students, application figures are said to have risen this year.