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// Don't Bet Against International Talent

Meetings that I have had recently, have begun to have a familiar feel to them; thought leaders, business drivers and decision makers all express the same sentiment in varying degrees 

“Mike, I’d like to hire international students but the Home Office process is making it so difficult that we just don’t bother… “

Since the Post Study Work Visa was abolished in April 2012, which allowed International Non- EU Students to stay in the UK for a further 12 months after their studies were completed. The environment for international students has become increasingly harsh.

I read PwC’s latest report “London Calling: International Students’ Contribution to Britain’s Economic Growth “ released on May the 18th with much interest, as this is a subject that has become an obsession for me over the past 3 years.

All economic data from the HEFCE, to UKCISA and even the 4th Report of Session 2013-14 from the Science and Technology Select Committee from the House of Lords points to the same conclusion.

Economically, socially and financially we are losing out severely by betting again international students. The abolition of the PSW has hampered our ability to train and retain top global talent.

We are hamstringing the UK economy and depriving large business from the next generation of talent from making it next to impossible for international students to get sponsored in the 4 months (yes I will repeat that…4 months) they have on average from the time they finish their degree ( average is September when they hand in their dissertation) to the expiration of their visa (January the following year)

We have already seen the number of Indian students begin to decrease as they pass over the UK for the much more clement US (up to 27 month Post Study stay for a STEM subject) and Chinese numbers have only continued to rise, purely due to the sheer volume of applicants, rather than a positive sentiment (I reference these as according to UKBA they are the top applicants for Tier 4 Sponsorship)

Last April, a study from the Government’s Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) found that the number of foreign students being recruited to English universities had dropped for the first time in around 30 years.

The research revealed that, in 2012/13, 307,205 international students enrolled at universities in England, a drop of 1.5 per cent in 12 months and the first time numbers had declined since 1983.

I am not surprised

The Department for Business Innovation and Service , estimates that International Students will contribute £19B to the British Economy by 2020, and indeed for many Universities, it is the sole reason why they can still operate and expand at the rate they have (UCL alone has over 10,000 international students)

Yes increasingly I see international student sentiment reflecting a recent post which was drawn to my attention on Wikijobs, at least 10 students echoing the sentiments of an anonymous user who simply posted, in response to a question about where to study said.

“DO NOT STUDY IN THE UK, THEY DON’T WANT US HERE, THEY JUST WANT OUR MONEY…”

At times, I struggle to disagree with this international youth apathy.

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