UK visa curbs will hit Indian MBA students
London: Britain's move to abolish the visa
that allows Indian and other non-EU students to take up
employment in the UK for two years after the completion of
their courses is likely to reduce the number of Indians coming
here for MBA degrees, an industry body has said.
The London-based Association of MBAs, which accredits
business management courses in 70 countries, including the UK,
said the proposed move was of 'significant concern', and would
restrict enrolment of international students from India and
In a speech last week, immigration minister Damian
Green said that non-EU students could not be allowed
unfettered access to the UK labour market amidst growing
unemployment in Britain.
He said: "The post study work route was intended to
form a bridge between study and skilled work, allowing all
international graduates to remain for two years after
graduation... To allow unfettered access to the jobs market
for two years to anyone with a student visa from abroad is
putting an unnecessary extra strain on our own graduates".
Noting that India and China are two of the UK's
biggest markets for international students, the association
said in its response to the consultation on the student visa
review that the UK must do all it can to remain competitive in
the highly skilled business education sector.
"Turning students away by restricting their access to
post-study employment puts their reputations at stake and
threatens future viability," it said.
The association said that MBA courses have high fees,
and does not attract the type of migrants which the David
Cameron government was seeking to deter from entering and
abusing the student visa system.
Moreover, MBA international students bring "a high
level of income for UK universities at a time when they are
struggling for funding", the association said.
In British universities, MBA tuition fees range from
10,000 pounds to 50,000 pounds per year.
The Association of MBAs surveyed 47 accredited
business schools in the UK in early January 2011.
Of the 34 who responded, 97 per cent said that they
believe continued restrictions on student visas are likely to
impact their enrolment numbers in the future.
Of these, 56 per cent said that the impact was highly
"This supports deep concerns voiced in focus groups
among business schools that prospective students will look
elsewhere to competitor countries including Canada, the United
States and Australia", it said.
The association added: "The focus on student
immigration and the blanket restriction of visas across the
entire student population poses significant risks to UK's
ability to remain competitive in global education and
"We urge the government to recognise that there are
different categories of international students".
Green's proposed restrictive measures on the student
visa system has already raised a welter of protest from the
Professor Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the
University of East Anglia, and a spokesman for Universities
UK, said the Government's plans amounted to a 'hostile act'.
Professor David Wark, of Imperial College London, also
warned against plans to weaken the link between study and
"If we get an opportunity to pick the cream of the
crop, we shouldn't pass that up," he added.
Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK,
said the Government's plans could cause 'unintended damage' to
the university sector and Britain's international reputation.