During the recent Conservative Party Conference in the UK the current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd announced that the government was considering a two-tier student visa system in the UK. The impact of Brexit has yet to be seen in many areas but immigration issues were at the forefront of many voters minds during the referendum and the government is keen to allay some those fears and assure voters that immigration issues are being dealt with. The two tier system aims to make sure the world leading institutions can still attract the brightest and the best, after all the UK has an unrivalled reputation when it comes to higher education and research. Meanwhile the government will be looking at tougher immigration requirements for those planning on attending ‘lower-quality’ courses. There is a clear two tier system of universities in the UK with those that have always been claseed as universities being in the top tier whilst those ‘new’ universities that used to be classed as Polytechnics and higher education colleges being included in the second tier. Some may argue that these are false tiers and that some of the newly classed universities now offer equal or better educations, research and performance than some of those older establishments however many of those that work and study within the newer establishments disagree. There are certainly areas where positive work is being done in these universities. Creating a two tier system of universities in the UK will not only make getting a via harder but will also seriously impact the universities that they apply to. Foreign students provide not just a valuable source of income but valued postgraduate research and diversification. The majority of Britons do not see overseas student as immigrants but rather as visitors to this country and therefore reducing the amount of overseas students will do little to appease those that want immigration curbed. The education system in the UK wants and needs overseas students, the concern from other countries was that the weak value of Sterling would make the UK an even more attractive place to study drawing foreign students away from the USA Canada and Europe but it seems that the government are intent on driving them away. The hope from the educational establishments in the UK is that the proposed two tier system is not implemented and more, rather than less, international students are encouraged to visit the UK to further their studies despite Brexit concerns. It remains to be seen if the government see this as a convenient way to reduce immigration statistics in the UK in the coming years.
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