Foreign students to reportedly be barred from UK unless studying at top universities

The UK government is looking to reduce migration, which could affect the ability of international students to study in Britain.

LONDON – Foreign students who want to study in Britain may be turned away unless they have secured a place at a “top university,” according to a report by The Times newspaper.

Ministers are said to be discussing how to reduce flows to the UK after record levels of net migration were reported on Thursday.

According to the report, there will also be restrictions on how many family members the students can bring into the country with them. The rules will also only apply to overseas students who do not already live in the UK

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Around 1.1 million people arrived in the UK in the year to June, with around 560,000 emigrating in the same period, leaving a record number of people emigrating at 504,000, according to the Office for National Statistics on Thursday.

The reported plans to stop foreign students from studying in Britain appear to be at odds with the government’s International Growth Strategy from 2019, which was designed to increase the number of international students studying in the UK each year to 600,000 by 2030.

That target was reached in the 2020/21 academic year when more than 605,000 students from outside the UK enrolled in higher education, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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The strategy was originally implemented to “support the UK education sector to access global opportunities,” according to the government’s website.

A representative for the Home Office said there would be no comment on the “speculation” about the idea that foreign students could be prevented from entering the UK.

However, he provided a statement from Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who said it was “understandable” that a record number of people traveled to the UK in the wake of the war in Ukraine, the evacuation in Afghanistan and the conflict on rights in Hong Kong, but that the British public “rightly expects” migration to be reduced over time.

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“This level of migration has put pressure on accommodation and housing supply, health, education and other public services. We must ensure that we have a sustainable, balanced and controlled approach which is why we continue to keep our immigration policies under review,” Braverman said in the statement.

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“My priority remains tackling the increase in dangerous and illegal crossings and preventing abuse of our system. It is vital that we restore public confidence and take back control of our borders, ” he wrote.

The Conservative government has launched a series of initiatives after pledging to reduce net migration to the UK in its 2019 manifesto, including its controversial plans to deport migrants to Rwanda and deals with France to target small boat crossings.

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