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UCLan warns Rishi Sunak that student visa plans would ‘significantly harm’ Preston

Posted on - 24th May, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Education, Preston News, UCLan
Pic: UCLan
UCLan has around 6,000 international students Pic: UCLan

Rishi Sunak’s plans to scrap a graduate visa scheme that allows overseas students to live and work in the UK after graduation would result in significant economic harm for Preston.

That is the verdict from The University of Central Lancashire, who cited the contribution international students make to the university and the local economy.

The Prime Minister – who may now not be able to implement his plan given the general election – is under pressure from some on the right-wing of his party to demonstrate toughness on immigration, but is also facing opposition from cabinet ministers over the plan.

Read more: Owner of closed Preston cocktail bar hopes nightlife can survive intense pressures

UCLan has already seen a decline in international student recruitment as a result of government immigration restrictions, along with increases to the cost of visa fees, and they said this contributed to the redundancy plans they announced in April.

Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor Professor at UCLan, told Blog Preston: “The University of Central Lancashire is part of a group of northern universities urging the Prime Minister to accept the findings of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) which has recommended that the current visa arrangement should be retained in its entirety.

“Our ability to attract ambitious and innovative students from around the world is a UK success story we should be celebrating. International students add more than £60 billion to the UK’s economy. They start businesses and contribute billions of pounds in income tax, national insurance, and VAT annually.

“We have roughly 6,000 international students who contribute approximately £130 million in total to our university and the local economy. This money is vital to northern cities such as Preston and should be protected at all costs.

“I firmly believe that removing the graduate route visa would make the UK a less attractive destination for international students. Losing them would ultimately result in significant economic harm for the North.”

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