Boris Johnson warns immigration policy will deter foreign students

10:51 26 November 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson is currently in New Delhi: Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

London Mayor Boris Johnson is currently in New Delhi: Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

London Mayor Boris Johnson is to speak out against government plans to cut down on the number of foreign students entering the UK.

In front of a group of Indian students in Delhi, he will claim new rules introduced last year by ministers to slash the number of bogus colleges sent out the “wrong signal”, adding that he feared they would hit the £2.5 billion revenue stream British universities earn from overseas students.

The industry played an important part in subsidising domestic undergraduates, the mayor said, as he announced plans to set up an Education Export Commission with central government to examine whether foreign students were now choosing to study in the US, Canada and Australia instead.

Of the 110,000 foreign students in London alone, 9,000 are from India, where Mr Johnson is spending this week trying to build business links with the capital.

He also handed over some copper petals from the spectacular cauldron used during the London 2012 Games. The petals are now being offered to each country as a legacy of their sporting achievements.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s a wonderful honour for me to present these beautiful petals to India as a fitting memento of the achievements of Indian athletes in London this summer.

In interviews ahead of a speech to prospective students at Amity University, the equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge, Mr Johnson added he was worried the “mood music” from Whitehall was putting the very best off applying.

He said: “We are going to set up with government an Education Exports Commission to look at the issue to make sure we get the right message across so that if the government decides to make changes to the visa regime it doesn’t do damage to a sector in which London is so strong and it is so valuable.

“The vast majority of Indian students do get a visa, 75 per cent of them get one pretty much straight off. It’s more of a perception at the moment.

“The policy on visas is, in my view, sending out the wrong signal. There are so many stipulations that we are starting to lose business to Australia, America and Canada.

“As I have written several times to the Home Secretary, we need to see a strong statement of welcome to make sure that the visa system is not a deterrent to international students.

“The extra stipulations such as the need to have a salary of up to a certain amount before you are allowed to stay on mean we need to be very careful that we are not doing stuff that actively deters foreign students and at the moment the policy seems to put people off. Why are we doing this? We shouldn’t be losing this market.”

He added: “It’s a great idea to have a London that is open to that kind of business. I am saying to Government ‘Don’t do things that is going to cause unnecessary alarm and prejudice against the UK’.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The usual suspects

In the run-up to the general election, we’ve decided to tell you what you really want to know about David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nigel Farage, Natalie Bennett and Nick...Someone based on Google searches.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
[Homes for Britain]

The cost of buying or renting a home in London is something everyone has to deal with, but these posters at Westminster Tube station show just how overpriced property in the capital has become.

Friday, February 27, 2015
The Mayor with Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive of Santander (Photo by Steve Bardens/ Getty Images for Santander)

The Mayor of London took a new red Boris Bike out for a spin this morning as he announced Santander was taking over from Barclays as sponsor of the city’s cycle scheme.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Sol Campbell has announced his intention to run for Mayor of London  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

The former Arsenal, Spurs and England defender Sol Campbell has announced his intention to take over from Boris Johnson and become the next Mayor of London. But would he be any good?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Natalie Bennett spluttered and stalled her way through an interview with radio station LBC

Cringeworthy, incredibly awkward, car crash - all words you used to describe the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett’s radio interview with LBC this morning.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
[Photograph by @WolvoPingu]

Housing protesters have clashed with police officers as they held a ‘mock eviction’ at a fancy dinner for bailiffs where they say people were “receiving awards for making families homeless.”

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The comedian took on the #GimmeFive challenge to support Flotus’ campaign in the US.

Read more

A one-off version is being auctioned off for Comic Relief.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

(Not guaranteed)

Mothers Day is fast approaching, so we’ve rounded up some unusual and beautiful gifts for you to dazzle the most important woman in your life come March 15th.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

A one-off version is being auctioned off for Comic Relief.

A man has now been jailed for the attack which left the officer unconscious.

The thieves were in and out in one minute – much like in the films.

Quirky London