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28 September 2011 | PR 11/117

Immigration policy could deter international staff and students

Students and higher education staff from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) could be deterred from coming to study and work in the UK because of current immigration policy.

Drs Elizabeth Mavroudi and Adam Warren in Loughborough University’s Department of Geography have discovered non-EEA residents feel singled out by the current measures which require them to apply for a biometric residence permit (BRP) – an identity card recording the holder’s facial image and fingerprints as well as standard biographical information.

The researchers conducted over 80 in-depth interviews with policy makers, migrants’ rights advocates, lawyers, HE administrators and non-EEA academic staff and students to understand their experiences of, and attitudes to, the BRP, as well as recent changes to UK labour immigration policy and its impacts on higher education.

They discovered that whilst overseas visitors did not object to the principle of the BRP, which can cost from £120 to £1,150 as part of the UK visa application, they felt it unfair they were targeted in isolation.

Dr Mavroudi explains:

“Not only did respondents find the BRP application process to be overly bureaucratic and costly, but frequent changes to the application procedures and guidance were perceived as a potential deterrent to highly qualified students and staff who might apply to study and work in the UK.

“In some cases, it was felt the need for only non-EEA residents to apply for BRPs singled them out as different and could lead to discriminatory treatment. This, together with the visa application process and recent changes to UK immigration policy, added to the perception that non-EEA students and academic staff were no longer welcome in the UK.

"It forced some interviewees to reconsider their current status and future prospects in this country.”  

International students are reported to contribute up to £12.5 billion annually to the UK economy, and the Education and Training export industry is estimated by the sector to be worth up to £40 billion.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Wednesday September 28, 2011 8:59