Cutting UK Visas to Spite… what, exactly?

The attack against UK visa caps continues today in a letter to The Times  from eight award-winning scientists who point out that international collaborations lie behind a significant proportion of the UK’s scientific output and it is  as a result international element that  the UK remains a leader in scientific research. British science depends upon globalised research, they say. Nobel prize winner Professor O’Keefe (vivisector) spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme to describe how the Immigration Rules had presented “a very very large obstacle”. Replying to Home Office pleas that there is scope for world-leading scientists he said “I am very very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration. I’m not saying its impossible, but we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place”. Several university Vice Chancellors have hit out against the present UK government’s immigration controls- most recently Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton told fellow academics that the controls are “directly harming UK interests”. He continued “wherever I travel in the world, particularly China and India, one question persists- Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?… the question baffles me as well”. The British Council predicted this week that the growth in international post-graduate students coming to Britain will slow by around 12% over the next decade. Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that restricting non-EU workers was beginning to damage UK’s economic recovery. And on and on… The Home Office have said that a new “exceptional talent visa” will provide for the needs in scientific and engineering fields. “The UK is open to the brightest and the best, including talented scientists and engineers, and it is wrong to suggest our companies are prevented from appointing the skilled workers they need”. BTW, Herald Scotland reports: Vince Cable has called his coalition partners “UKIP without the beer” and said Labour offered “French socialism without the sex”. It would be once to hear some thoughtful debate on these important issues without the inane soundbites,  puerile scrapping and appeals to the perceived baser instincts of the electorate. UK visa barrister

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website

Overseas Students Subtracted From Labour’s Maths

Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, speaking to a fringe meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration that the government’s immigration policy has been distorted by its focus on net immigration targets and particularly criticises its impact on overseas student numbers.

Labour, she says can do better. They would impose a series of targets and controls distinguishing different types of immigrants and excluding students.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Video – Get UK Student Visa – UK Immigration Barrister

I have uploaded a video on UK Student Visa (how to get a tier 4 (General) UK student visa). You can view the origin page here.

Get UK Student Visa

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers

Clegg Critical of “Rigidities” in UK Visa System

Emboldened by distance (he is in India) and the proximity to the end of the coalition (2015 is General Election year) the Deputy Prime Minister is speaking his mind on immigration.

Nick Clegg, on a trade visit to India, spoke out after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi. His tone contrasted with the that of recent utterances on immigration issues from the Home Secretary and Prime Minister which have been hostile and unwelcoming- designed to appeal to core Tory supporters.

Clegg calls for a relaxation of visa rules affecting students and some workers from India and other non EEA countries and speaks of a more welcoming attitude to foreign students (which wouldn’t take much, after all). The official government approach is to cap numbers of students (as part of a vote-winning squeeze on immigration generally). Clegg also suggested science and engineering graduates should be given more extra leave to remain at the end of their studies.

Prospective students from India are reported to have been deterred for coming to Britain by bureaucracy.

Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website iBarristersChambers.

Heseltine Says: Don’t Cut Student Visa Numbers

Lord Hesleltine (the former Conservative Minister and Deputy Prime Minister) has responded to the Universities UK/British Future think tank poll (see Public Support for UK Student Visas post, below) by pointing out that “the public do not see students who come and go as part of the immigration problem” and that students bring “huge financial stability” to universities. In other words he is effectively telling PM Cameron that he won’t be getting any popularity points for reducing numbers of UK Student Visas (the public are not stupid enough to swallow that trick) and since such reductions would come at a considerable public cost, he risks getting his fingers burned. Well said.

Public Support for UK Student Visas

A poll carried out on behalf of Universities UK and think tank British Future suggests the British public do not support the present government’s attempts to limit the number of UK student visas issued in future. This follows last month’s Prime Ministerial statement of intention to reduce net migration to the UK and to set absolute numerical limits on the number of UK student Visas issued. International students are the largest single group of migrants from non EEA states to be counted in the Governments reduction figure.
The study reports surprise expressed by poll participants when they are told that students are counted as immigrants for this purpose. 59% of participants thought the government should not reduce the number of international students. Around 75% of participants felt international students should be allowed to stay on an work in the UK after their studies.
It seems there is a gulf between the support shown for general populist anti-immigration policies as described in dumbed-down form in an attempt to foster public support in the last months before the next general election, and the opinion of the British Public when they are properly informed about these policies. The truth is that international student are a large and easy target- reducing their numbers is the quickest means to achieve the government’s self-imposed immigration targets.
But this approach comes at a cost to the nation- international students contribute significantly in financial terms to the UK; And what is the benefit, exactly? The politicians showcase policies about foreign criminals, immigrants seeking to take advantage of benefits or the NHS or people coming to work illegally and and the end of the trick they hope to appear (by sleight of hand) to have reduced immigration numbers (concealing the fact that its mostly a different kind of immigrant they’ve counted).
Educational providers, who as registered sponsors fulfil part of the pre-visa suitability checking process, will lose their highly trusted status if 10% or more of their Certificate of Acceptance (CAS) students fail to get a UK student visa.