Birmingham City University is urging local MPs to back an early day motion (EDM) calling on the government to rethink policies which are impacting on the recruitment of international students.
In a letter to all MPs in the Birmingham region, the University’s Vice Chancellor Cliff Allan said international students should not be included in Home Office targets aimed at reducing net migration to the UK.
Highlighting opinion polls that suggest the public does not consider overseas students as migrants, Professor Allan told MPs that as a result of the restriction there was a ‘serious threat to student recruitment facing universities in Birmingham”.
Figures from Universities UK, which is leading a national campaign on the issue, revealed that the number of Indian students studying in the UK has almost halved in two years, with international entrants onto STEM courses falling by 10%.
Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “Our ability to attract international students is being damaged by their inclusion in figures to reducing net migration to the UK, despite a clear majority of the public not regarding such people as migrants.
“Higher education makes a major contribution to the regional economy, with five universities based in Birmingham turning over £700m, employing over 10,000 staff and teaching nearly 70,000 students.’
A recent poll conducted by Universities UK found that 75% of people think that international students should be allowed to stay and work in the UK after graduating.
Birmingham City University wrote to ten Birmingham MPs to ask them to back the motion. Two have signed up so far, Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood and Yardley MP John Hemming, joining a current total of 75 MPs.
The cross party motion was submitted by Labour’s Paul Blomfield with the support of Liberal Democrat Sir Andrew Stunell and Conservative Mark Field.