Vice-chancellor David Latchman of Birkbeck University of London claims that a “unfavourable atmosphere” fostered by the government is the reason why international students are leaving UK universities.
The UK government declared in May of last year that starting in 2024, it will impose restrictions on international students‘ ability to bring family members along.
According to the Home Office, the goal of the ruling was to prevent individuals from exploiting the student visa as a backdoor to employment in the UK.
But according to The Telegraph, Latchman said Birkbeck varsity saw a 10% drop in overseas students since October after many of them who had accepted their admissions pulled out.
It was gathered the students who pulled out had applied in January last year and accepted places in June but did not show up to the varsity.
Latcheman blamed the development on the new reforms introduced by the UK government.
“This has occurred across the sector – I attribute this to the generally unfavourable atmosphere created for international students by the various announcements even though the ban on dependants does not actually begin until January,” the VC lamented.
The professor, who will be stepping down as VC this week after 20 years, said the university funding system was “unsustainable”.
“I think there’s a total failure to understand that you can’t have a business in inverted commas where you say your business has two products – over here, you can’t charge more than this, however much the costs increase [for domestic students],” he said.
“And over here, I’m going to do our best to discourage people from taking up your business where you can charge more [for international students].
“We can’t carry on like this.”
It is also understood that there was a decline in the number of accepted international students in 2023.
According to figures by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), for international students from outside the European Union, there were 61,055 acceptances for 2023, down 2% from 62,455 in 2022 — but 34% up from 45,455 in 2019.
NIGERIANS AFFECTED THE MOST
Given that Nigerians made up the largest rise in the number of dependents traveling with study visa holders in 2022, the crackdown is likely to have an impact on a large number of students from that country who are seeking to continue postgraduate courses in the UK.
In comparison to 2019, sponsored study grants increased by 57,545 (+686%) to a record high of 65,929, with Nigerian citizens accounting for the biggest increase. This made them the third largest nationality group.