Immigration crackdown sees foreign student numbers drop

University of Hertfordshire

University of Hertfordshire - Credit: Archant

Stricter immigration controls have led to a year-on-year drop of international students in Welwyn Hatfield of nine per cent.

Quintin McKeller Vice chancellor

Quintin McKeller Vice chancellor - Credit: Archant

The University of Hertfordshire has seen the number of foreign scholars fall for the past three years.

Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “It is important to recognise the enormous contribution international students make to the UK economy.

“The world is global and students can only benefit from exposure to other cultures as part of their educational experiences.

“Our university is proud to have international students from 85 different countries who find a very warm welcome at Hertfordshire.”

The Hatfield-based institution would not reveal the amount of students that this equates to, due to commercial reasons.

But the uni has 27,200 students, and overseas students account for roughly five per cent of the total body.

Most Read

It comes after the Coalition Government took steps to tighten student visa rules in 2011.

Applicants had to have higher English language skills than in previous years and face-to-face interviews between potential students and colleges were arranged.

Lobby group, Universities UK, claimed the changes meant students were heading elsewhere, taking £350m a year with them.

A uni spokeswoman said: “The university has a balanced financial portfolio and is not reliant on just this source of income so it has not affected our financial performance.”

Welwyn Hatfield MP and Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps stood by the crackdown, but said genuine students were welcomed.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I think most Welwyn Hatfield residents would agree with me that immigration was very poorly handled during the previous administration, leading to stresses on public services.

“We’ve brought the system back under control, reducing net immigration from both within and outside the EU by nearly one-third.

“The University of Hertfordshire is doing a great job selling high-quality British university education to foreign students.

“I met a Singaporean student studying high-end computer game design in Hatfield only yesterday and he told me how well he was getting on.”