New pressure on Government from House of Lords to review restrictive student visa rules

Lord _lipsey _resize

Lord Lipsey, Chair of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, will call on the Government to reverse the tough new rules on post-study work visas for international students in a debate in the House of Lords tonight.

The debate brings new pressure on the Government to review its decision about student visas and follows a letter published today from five Chairs of House of Commons committees to the Prime Minister which calls for students to be exempted from the current immigration rules.

Lord Lipsey questioned the Government's April 2012 decision to remove the Post Study Work (Tier 1) visa, which allows students to work for two years after successful completion of a degree.

"Extending visa control of students has gone too far. The Government is now undermining a highly profitable British "export", while also diminishing the intellectual and cultural vitality of our nation.

"Nowhere is this truer than in music and dance, which are by their very nature international. Just as India and China are wanting more outlets for their students, we are closing the door."

Trinity Laban Principal, Professor Anthony Bowne, said:

"It is counter-productive to the economy to count students as migrants. These new rules are having a significant negative press impact overseas in key markets, at a time when UCAS figures are showing drops in international applications to study in the UK.

"We welcome the Government's concession to allow conservatoire music students to continue their studies beyond five years but closing off the Post Study Work concession is a major disincentive for talented international students to train in the UK."

The Department for Business estimates that in 2008-09 the value of education and training exports was about £15bn.

Restrictions on right to work - The Government has removed the Post Study Work (Tier 1) visa, allowing students to work for two years after successful completion of a degree.

From April 2012 a limit on the number of years a student can study on a Tier 4 visa was limited to five years. The Government has allowed a concession to colleges within Conservatoires UK which allows for five years' study for an undergraduate degree followed by three years' master's study in music. However, dance programmes will continue to be affected by the restriction.

Student applications - Between 2007 and 2011, the number of applications from international students to UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which handles applications to UK universities, rose by 7% annually. However, UCAS says that figures that will be released later in January will show an increase of only 0.8% for the coming year. Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics showed a fall of 26% in the number of study visas granted by the UK Border Agency in the year to September 2012.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is the UK's only conservatoire of music and dance. Its innovative course provision, exciting performances and groundbreaking education, community and social inclusion work make Trinity Laban a leader in the advancement of elite and creative artistic practice. The organisation fosters the musicians, dancers and artistic leaders of the future, enriching Britain's vibrant cultural life and its creative industries which are vital to a balanced, diverse economy.

More than 97% of our first degree leavers are in employment or further study six months after graduation - the fifth highest figure across the entire higher education sector.

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