The power of diversity – Hasan’s story

This is a picture of the commencement ceremony at Oregon State University, (OSU) which took place in the summer of 2016 and involved more than 6,400 students from 63 counties.  In many respects it was similar to ceremonies taking place across US campuses last summer as it also included thousands of students with their families and friends celebrating their achievements. Continue reading “The power of diversity – Hasan’s story”

Visas and value – Behind the student migration statistics

Latest visa statistics published by Australia, the United States and Canada all point to increasing international higher education student enrolments.  The United Kingdom on the other hand recorded a slight dip for the first time in more than quarter of a century last month – although the forward signs are positive.  In this blog, Tim O’Brien looks at student enrolment patterns, rising costs of an international education and the impact visa policy is having on students from South Asia.

Continue reading “Visas and value – Behind the student migration statistics”

Can I have the bill please?

So the details of the Immigration bill have just been released, and I can’t help but wonder what the impact of these changes will have on the UK’s ability to still attract the brightest and the best international students?

It is difficult not to agree with the underlying intent of the Bill. It is hard to see why those who do not have the right to be in the UK should be able to use the NHS for free. Landlords should be accountable to tenants to stop this ‘beds in sheds’ abuse. Fines should be increased (doubled) and handed out, as well as assets being seized to stop people who are exploiting non-EU citizens. There is no place for any form of ‘human trafficking’ in a civilized society.  Continue reading “Can I have the bill please?”

Perception and reality – my humbling experience of agents’ work in China

I left INTO at the beginning of 2013 to study Mandarin Chinese full time in Kunming, China. My reasons for doing this and my experiences ‘on the other side’, as an international student, are for another day.

But, with an eye to the future, I wanted to continue some kind of association with INTO, so I approached the recruitment team in Guangzhou to see if I could assist in any way.  Despite my very basic language skills I was fortunate enough to be asked to help Tyler Nusbaum and the team with some agent events. Here I got to experience first hand the reality of the job that agents do to support students. Continue reading “Perception and reality – my humbling experience of agents’ work in China”

£67 million on visa compliance – but is the money being spent in the right areas?

The recent Higher Education Better Regulation Group report which estimated that the UK higher education sector has spent £67 million on visa compliance, got me thinking. Has it really been five years since the Points Based System (PBS) was introduced?

It immediately took me back to when I was working at the University of East Anglia and I was asked to lead on a little project for about six to eight months to make sure that the University’s visa letters had consistency across the faculties and included our new licence number.  It’s funny how that little project has evolved as per the HEBRG report and cost HE institutions £67 million, but surely that must also be seen as an investment in one of the UK’s most valuable export sectors and, more importantly in supporting students on their journey to the United Kingdom?

Continue reading “£67 million on visa compliance – but is the money being spent in the right areas?”

Can’t count, won’t count – should be made to count

 

Over the weekend the BBC reported that the influential Public Administration Committee claimed data used by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for estimating who enters and leaves the country were a best guess and not fit for purpose as a means of calculating net migration figures upon which major policy commitments are based. Interested observers already know that the Migration Advisory Committee also think that the ONS method is likely to significantly over-state net migration and particularly the impact of international students attending courses in the UK.

To recap, net migration is calculated as the total number of people entering the United Kingdom for a year or longer minus those who leave the country. The Coalition Government in the United Kingdom is committed to reducing the net migration number from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands. At present this is calculated based on something called the International Passenger Survey – which is a random sample of up to 5000 people each year asking them why they are entering or leaving the country.  From that the Office of National Statistics extrapolates the net migration number. A deeply flawed and unreliable mechanism, given the millions of entries and exits to the UK each year. Continue reading “Can’t count, won’t count – should be made to count”