Tory plans to deny access to foreign students wanting to study in the UK are already causing massive harm to UK universities and the economy of the country

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As the FT has reported this morning:

The number of international students paying deposits to study at UK universities has “plummeted” after Rishi Sunak put restrictions on education visas, according to industry data given to the government's independent adviser on migration.

Enroly, a web platform used by one in three international students for managing university enrolment, said deposits to a representative sample of 24 British universities had declined 57 per cent year-on-year as of May.

From my experience, I can confirm that this phenomena is happening.

And, whilst I avoid all issues to do with university admin if I can, rumours reach me from many of the universities where I am now working with people that the reaction to this situation is going to be severe.

The supply of education to foreign students studying in the UK has been a major export trade for this country. It has been a massive earner. As a result many universities have come to rely on the courses that attract foreign students as a major source of funding, and of cross subsidisation to less popular courses that they still think it essential that they supply. For the record, accounting and finance courses have been high on the list of those courses that have played this role as major income generators that then cross subsidise other activities.

Now those courses are suddenly attracting far fewer students. Not only does this imply that there will be a significant drop in UK invisible earnings from  the effective export of these services, but that there will be very rapid knock on effects in the universities themselves.

First, there will be rounds or redundancies as the need for teaching staff declines in some areas, almost overnight.

Then there will be the end of the cross subsidies. As an result, expect many universities to stop offering degree courses in many arts subjects, in particular. Some of these are already expensive to deliver and those that are already declining in popularity, like some language courses, are likely to be subject to review very soon if this income stream is not available.

The net result of this absurd and racist policy is going to be very obvious, very soon. We are not only going to be a poorer country, but we will be one whose soft power in the world will be greatly reduced, whilst our cultural life will be severely diminished.  And all because the Tories are playing to far-right racists. That really does disgust me.

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