UK’s ‘xenophobia’ is putting foreign students off, says University of Hertfordshire chief

Professor Quintin McKellar

Professor Quintin McKellar - Credit: Archant

XENOPHOBIA is putting foreign students off studying in the UK, a senior Hatfield university figure has claimed.

Professor Quintin McKellar, vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, said foreign students were not coming to Britain in larger numbers because of calls for tighter curbs on immigration.

“We do have an issue, not just within universities but in the whole of the United Kingdom in terms of having essentially quite a xenophobic population,” Professor McKellar told a vice-chancellors’ conference.

He revealed his feelings in a question-and-answer session in Leicester with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, who is responsible for universities.

Dr Cable replied immigration was a “toxic issue”.

He acknowledged there had been abuses of immigration rules, but added he tried to separate the issue of overseas students in Britain, from the wider debate on immigration.

Dr Cable said: “It’s absolutely right that the Government deals with that and is seen to deal with it.

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“It’s absolutely crucial — but at the same time there are a lot of people who come into the country who add value, considerable value, and it isn’t just overseas students.”