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UK Visa Dependent Ban Causing Decline In International Students, According To Experts

A recent survey has found that there has been a significant drop in international business school enrollments, with many respondents placing the blame on new government visa policies

Fri Apr 5 2024

There has been a significant decline in international student enrollments in UK business schools starting in January 2024, a survey recently released by the Chartered Association of Business Schools has revealed. 

The survey was conducted in February this year and is based on responses from 50 UK business schools, 80% of which offer January intake-programs. 

For non-EU international students, 76% of responding schools reported lower enrolments compared to the previous year. While EU recruitment remained more stable, 41% of schools still saw lower enrolments.

India and Nigeria were two regions that saw notable decreases in student recruitment, but declines were observed across various regions, including Europe, South Asia, and Latin America.

The report also found a disparity between postgraduate and undergraduate recruitment.

Attracting non-EU postgraduates proved to be more challenging for business schools, with 78% reporting being below target. Of these, 61% were significantly below target and 17% were moderately below target. 

Respondents highlighted there was a particular waning interest in applications for MBAs and associated management Master’s programs, such as the Master in Management.

Meanwhile, EU undergraduates were the most successfully recruited cohort, with 67% of schools meeting or exceeding targets.

However, no schools reported that they significantly exceeded targets for any category of student in their January 2024 intake. 

The decline in applications can be largely attributed to recent government policy announcements, which nine out of ten survey respondents agreed were negatively impacting their school's ability to recruit international students.

The most recent of these includes the UK’s ban on visa dependents, which has had a disproportionately negative effect on female applicants. 

Other prominent issues include delays in visa issuance, declines in MBA program enrolments, and even course cancellations.

On the back of this, some responding deans also expressed their concerns that other countries offering higher education to international students will be perceived as much more positive and welcoming than the UK. 

Additional challenges citied in the report were visa processing, concerns over post-graduation work opportunities, and the cost of living in the UK.