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UK Immigration Minister meets Study Group team to discuss support for international students

10 September 2020

UK Immigration Minister Kevin Foster MP met the CEO of Study Group Emma Lancaster and colleagues on 10th September as part of a visit to Cardiff University

The Minister today announced that a 'Student route and Child Student route will open on 5 October 2020 to the best and brightest international students from across the globe' as part of the government’s commitment to introduce a new points-based immigration system.

The Minister and his civil service team held a roundtable discussion with Study Group on issues relating to international students. This followed the Minister’s commitment "to make our immigration system much more user friendly, and to work with businesses and communities to make sure the system works for everyone." Speaking of the new student route, the government said:

“International students play a key part in the government’s agenda to unleash the UK’s potential now that we have left the EU. They make important contributions economically, academically, and financially.

“Launching the Student route early sends a clear message to the world we want the best and brightest to come to the UK to study at our globally renowned education institutions.

“There will be no limit on the number of international students who can come to the UK. This will help to increase the total number of international students choosing to study in the UK higher education system each year to 600,000 by 2030, as set out in the International Education Strategy published in March 2019.

The meeting reflected Study Group’s longstanding engagement with the Home Office and Departments of Education and International Trade to support welcoming policies for international students, including as part of the UK International Education Strategy.

Welcoming the opportunity to talk directly to the Minister and his team, CEO Emma Lancaster said:

“I very much appreciated the chance to engage with the Minister personally and to thank him for his efforts to support international students through policy mitigation in the face of COVID-19. Both Kevin Foster and the Universities Minister Michelle Donelan have worked closely with the international education sector to mitigate the adverse consequences of COVID-19 on international students to ensure no student has a negative outcome through the immigration system due to a circumstance beyond their control.

“We also thanked the Minister for his commitment to the very welcome new International Education Strategy and in particular recent changes to reintroduce the opportunity for post-study work visas, which puts the UK in-line with other countries seeking to attract international students. This is an important change for students seeking an opportunity to develop their careers and to mitigate the cost of study in the UK, as well as bringing vital skills and tax revenue to the UK economy. We are keen to do our part to communicate the latest developments to talented potential students across the world.”

As a global organisation with its corporate headquarters in the UK, Study Group also shared with the Minister views on how to make British education even more competitive internationally, and measures to help reach the UK's ambitious educational export target of £35 billion by 2030. Suggestions included streamlining the visa process for international students and delegating functions to trusted providers to provide a simplified student journey for prospective international students that would help make the UK a more competitive destination. Study Group also committed to continue to work closely with the government on the international education strategy, and to share insights drawn from its 25 years of providing international education and through its extensive network in markets across the world.

Members of the Study Group team included CEO Emma Lancaster, Director for the UK and EU Dr Mark Cunnington, Director of Risk and Compliance Peter Skillen, Senior Advisor Ruth Arnold and Head of Cardiff University International Study Centre Chris Hooper.

The Immigration Minister – a former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales – also met international students and staff from Cardiff University where he was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan. Study Group has been chosen by the University to deliver its pathway programmes for international students and the first cohort will begin their studies via Cardiff University International Study Centre this autumn. 

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