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Immigration White Paper

19 December 2018

​UUK comment on publication of the government’s Immigration White Paper

Commenting on the publication of the government’s Immigration White Paper, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

"International staff and students, both EU and non-EU, make a vital contribution to the UK higher education sector. The ability to recruit international staff at a broad range of skill levels and students at all levels of study, with minimal barriers, is vital to the continued success of our universities.

"There are over 83,000 international staff working in UK universities. The reforms to the Tier 2 system are a step in the right direction, but need to go further. Removal of the cap on numbers of highly skilled workers is welcome acknowledgement that EU and non-EU university staff make a major contribution to the success of universities. Their contribution is vital to post-Brexit Britain.

“Any decision to maintain the salary threshold at £30,000 however would have serious implications for technicians and language assistants in particular, who are vitally important to teaching and research. 63% of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals working as technicians at UK universities earn below £30,000, in vital areas such as biosciences and clinical medicine EEA nationals make up over a quarter of the technical workforce.

“There are 135,000 EU students in UK universities. We welcome the recognition of the benefits that international graduates make to the country through the introduction of post-study work for a period of up to one year for PhD students and 6 months for others, but unless we allow all graduates to stay and work for two years the UK will continue to lag behind our global competitors in our offer to international students.

“Under these proposals EU students will also now require a study visa, placing an additional burden on students and universities. 

“Over the coming months of consultation we will be seeking changes to these proposals to ensure the best possible deal for university staff and students.”


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