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Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive at the Institute of Student Employers, responds to the publication of the Migration Advisory Committee report on the impacts of international students in the UK.
Completing a part-time degree in your late 30s is associated with an increase in lifetime earnings of up to £377,000 in cash terms, a new study commissioned by the Open University shows.
Following encouraging comments from universities minister Sam Gyimah on Universities UK's call for the re-introduction of a post-study work visa, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, the outgoing President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield who co-founded the #WeAreInternational campaign with the President of the Sheffield Students' Union in 2012, argues that now is the time for the government to back up its welcoming words for international students with a welcoming policy change.
University UK's annual conference, held at Sheffield Hallam University, kicked off the academic year with speeches and debates on a wide range of burning issues, including Brexit, fees and funding, overseas students, public perceptions of HE, value for money, freedom of speech, and student mental health. HEi-know asked Higher Education Policy Institute Director Nick Hillman, Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes, and Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Smith, to give their personal perspectives on the event and its themes.
The Campaign for Science and Engineering has strongly criticised government immigration policies, warning that they are creating an unnecessary obstacle to talented scientists and engineers around the world coming to work in the UK.
In a new report, Immigration: Keeping the UK at the Heart of Global Science and Engineering, CaSE says anti-immigration rhetoric and immigration policies are putting the UK’s future economic and scientific success at risk.
CaSE argues immigrant scientists and engineers bring new ways of thinking to universities and businesses, help build international collaborations, and open up new global markets through their contacts and language skills.
Despite these benefits, the report identifies rules and policies that are stopping talented scientists and engineers from coming to the UK to conduct vital research and contribute to our high-tech economy.
These include rules that prevent researchers from working in the UK for more than seven years if their research involves 180 days travel overseas each year.
CaSE has collected evidence showing that 66 engineers were unable to get a visa to work in the UK because of a Government-imposed cap. With only 30 higher-level engineering apprentices finishing their training in 2013/14, the sector cannot afford to be starved of talented engineers.
The report demonstrates the contribution of immigrant scientists and engineers to the UK’s scientific and economic strength, and its culture, finding that 35 per cent of the public would like to see higher levels of immigration of scientists and researchers, making them the most-welcomed profession. It points out that 40 per cent of all British Nobel Prize winners were born overseas, anda quarter of academic staff in UK universities are non-UK nationals. More than 13,000 scientists and engineers came from outside the European Union to work in the UK in 2014-15.
Among its recommendations, CaSE calls on the government to create a new Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Science, Research, and Academia) visa, support international researchers to maintain links with their home countries to promote international development, protect the free movement of people in Europe, harmonise with EU legislation to support researcher mobility, fast-track peer-reviewed applicants through Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), and abolish the Tier 2 (General) cap.
The Director of CaSE, Sarah Main, said: “Immigrants have helped make the UK a world-leader in science and engineering. From the structure of DNA to the design of the Mini, we have benefitted from great ideas brought by talented people from abroad. The Government wants to make the UK the best place in the world for business and science. This report shows that getting immigration policy right is key to achieving their aim.
"We have identified feasible actions that the Government can take to strengthen the UK as a destination for global scientists and engineers. There is a real win-win opportunity here, to support our economy and support international development by promoting global research collaboration.”
The President of the Royal Society, Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, said: “All governments can place legitimate limits on immigration but the UK’s traditionally welcoming approach to talent from abroad is one of the reasons why we have such a world-class research base. This report can help stimulate discussion about how we ensure that rationality wins out and the UK maintains its ability to attract the best scientific talent from around the world.”
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