Sir James Bevan, the British High Commissioner to India, has said Britain has “set no limit on the number of foreign students who can come”, in an attempt to convince international students to study in the United Kingdom.
Speaking at Delhi University Bevan assured listeners that genuine students with a place at a university in Britain will get their visa.
Bevan echoes the words of the Chancellor, George Osborne, in China last year where he stated that “there is no limit to the number of Chinese who can study in Britain”.
These comments are in stark contrast to comments made by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who has repeatedly voiced her desire to reduce the number of international students.
Last year’s figures revealed a 46% drop in visas for students wishing to study in colleges and language schools, leading to concerns that the drop would also affect international student numbers at university level, a vital financial income for UK institutions.
Tougher restrictions have prompted the fear that international students are being discouraged from studying in Britain. Daniel Stevens, the National Union of Students’ international officer, said: “the UK has a government which is hell bent on reducing the number of international students coming to the county by including them in migration targets.”
He adds the messages being sent out by Theresa May are “hugely damaging” towards the perception international students have on the UK
There have been suggestions that foreign student numbers should not be included in migration targets of 2013 due to the almost £6 billion economic value of international students.