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
2 3 4 5 6

Latest London politics news

Monday, October 5, 2015
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn is due to speak at a protest against postal cuts in Manchester today, as his rival party meets in the city for its conference.

Friday, October 2, 2015
Zac Goldsmith will face Sadiq Khan in the battle for London in May 2016 (Picture: PA Images)

Environmentalist Richmond Park MP and Tory girls’ dreamboy Zac Goldsmith has been picked as the Conservative Party’s candidate for London Mayor, winning the contest with 70% of the vote. Here London24 brings you some of the funniest Twitter reactions to his selection.

Monday, September 28, 2015
View from Commercial Street of how Bishopsgate goodsyard development will look

A battle for the heart of east London has now switched to City Hall in a manoeuvre to get Boris Johnson to push through the controversial Bishopsgate goodsyard development before he steps down as Mayor of London next May.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Ed Palmer, 28, is part of a group trying to spread the message on social media that many 'junior doctors' are adults a way into their career (Picture: Whittington Whatsapp Group)

We spoke to some of London’s junior doctors - essentially any medic who isn’t a consultant - to find out how people are reacting inside the NHS to the government’s plan to make doctors ‘work longer hours for less money’.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Jeremy's speech style has been both praised and vilified in recent weeks (Picture: PA Images)

It’s showtime. Jezza vs Dave commenced their first Westminster mouth-off (also known as Prime Minister’s Questions) at midday today and we are bringing you Twitter’s funniest and most enlightening reactions to the much-anticipated spectacle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Hundreds of taxi drivers descended on City Hall for a protest today (Picture: Quotax Insurance)

Today’s Mayor’s Question Time was shut down after Boris Johnson insulted protesting taxi drivers by calling them Luddites and storming out , before cabbies tried to force their way into City Hall.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Line-Up Events


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Read more

Latest Tech News