UK student migration plan may benefit Australian institutions

Date: Dec 07, 2011

New data released by a leading authority on UK immigration has highlighted the potential flow on effects that could be felt by Australian institutions after a number of changes were made to work and study visa arrangements.

A survey from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has taken into account the views of over 5,000 respondants and says that the country's reputation as a desirable place to pursue tertiary education has been damaged.

As a key point, the research suggests that removal of the Post Study Work Scheme
was having a negative effect on the number of international students who were interested in pursuing a degree at one of the UK's many colleges.

The chairman of the UKCISA Board of Trustees Professor Paul Webley described the abolition as "widely lamented" by education providers and both domestic and international students.

Webley highlighted the difference between British policies and those in place here in Australia - saying that there was a stark contrast that would be sure to have an effect on enrolment figures over the coming year.

He said: "With the announcement by Australia of its new Post-Study Work scheme, it is quite possible that significant numbers will be attracted to go there instead and that the real impact on numbers choosing the UK will only be felt in 2012."

Referring to the manner in which Knight reforms provide new visa conditions for those international students who complete a degree Webley explained that they would make the commonwealth nation a more attractive option over the long term.

One of the key areas in which the UK was found to be lagging was the delivery of clear and consistent advice on the range of visa options available to an individual.

An immigration lawyer is qualified to provide assistance to both student groups and tertiary institutions - ensuring that their procedures are compliant with the relevant legislation.

In particular students looking to extend their stay beyond their graduation date were sorely disappointed by the UK's offerings - with nearly 80 per cent indicating that that they felt comfortable and accepted in the country.

Webley clarified: "Respondents said that the most recent changes have made the UK appear less welcoming."

For the education industry in Australia, this highlights the importance of capitalising on the increased levels of interest in the learning facilities in this country by providing students with sound advice on their work and study options.

A migration lawyer can help to ensure that the services they provide are factually accurate and fall within the bounds of any changes made to the relevant visa requirements.