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Immigration policy makes students ‘feel less welcome’

The coalition’s aim to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015 makes more than half of international students in the UK feel less welcome, according to a new survey.

'No entry' sign painted on a wall

The survey of 510 students from more than 100 institutions, carried out by polling firm YouthSight for Regents University London, suggests that the public debate around immigration is harming international students’ perception of the UK.

Fifty-three per cent of students from Asia and 46 per cent from North America said the policy made them feel less welcome.

Aldwyn Cooper, Regents vice-chancellor, said that the migration policy “risks alienating overseas students in the UK”.

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, has repeatedly stressed that despite the overall target to cut net migration, there is no actual cap on the number of students who can come to the UK.

The survey, carried out in May this year, also found that four in ten international students spend most of their time with students from their own country. At Russell Group universities, the proportion was 47 per cent.

Professor Cooper said that this showed international students were often “left in de facto ghettos, rarely mixing outside their national groups”.

Almost a third of those students surveyed said that their university was only interested in the fees they pay, which are typically much higher than those of domestic and EU students.

However 83 per cent said that they were happy with the quality of their course.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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