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Visa restrictions could harm higher education

Visa restrictions could harm higher education

Leading academics from outside the EU could be put off coming to Britain because of new visa restrictions, according to a prestigious London university. 

University College London (UCL) said that plans to impose a five-year limit on visas for non-EU academic staff will create a huge disincentive for recruits and jeopardise the development of UK students. 

In a submission to Home Secretary Theresa May, UCL says that 13 per cent of its academic staff come from outside the EU - and argues that the loss of "star performers" would also harm the development of "home-grown talent". 

“Damaging our ability to attract the brightest and the best will have an effect on the whole sector far greater than the perceived benefit of reducing net migration by a few thousand,” the university's submission states. 

A total of 28 out of 30 academics sampled had declared they would not have come to London if there had been no prospect of settling here. 

Immigration minister Damian Green said those who had “most to offer” would still be welcomed but that it was wrong that settlement rights had become “almost automatic” for people arriving on temporary visas. 

Statistics show that net migration to the UK rose by a fifth last year to 239,000 and most of those arriving were from outside Europe. 

Posted by Keith Broomer

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