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The British Council has rebuffed suggestions from Migration Watch UK that it is trying to undermine the Government’s efforts to restrict abuse of international student visas.
Migration Watch UK, an independent organisation monitoring migration to and from the UK, criticised the British Council (BC) after the published a report looking at lessons Britain could learn from the student visa systems of the USA and Australia.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said
"It is surprising that a government funded body should be issuing material designed to undercut government policy and even more surprising that they should have tried to spin their report to suggest that tightening our visa system would discourage genuine applicants. The real lesson of their report is crystal clear; student routes are open to manipulation. In our view, therefore, the government needs to reintroduce interviews for applicants, especially in countries of immigration concern."
BC issued a response on Monday (12th March) pointing out that they only receive a third of their funding from the UK Government and their primary concern is ensuring the £14.1 billion that international education generates for the UK economy is safeguarded.
Dr Jo Beall, the British Council's director of education and society, said:
"The British Council completely backs the government's intention to attract genuine students who make a huge economic and academic contribution to Britain, so we feel obliged to point out when independent evidence suggests there's a risk that current policy may mean the UK loses out to our competitors. We want to help government combat that and universities to attract the brightest and best students and researchers".
To read the full response, click here
Posted by Keith Broomer
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