Many Overseas Students Say UK Not 'Welcoming'

By Editorial 19 February, 2014

Slightly more than half the respondents to a survey of international students studying in the UK said that they do not think the UK Government is welcoming to those who travel to Britain to study, and just under 20 percent said they would not recommend the UK to others.

Of 3,135 students surveyed in January 2014, 50.7 percent said that the Government is either not welcoming or not at all welcoming, 26.4 percent said it was neither welcoming or unwelcoming, while 22.9 percent said it was welcoming or very welcoming.

Students from Japan, Nigeria, Indian, and Turkey all polled higher than 60 percent for "not welcoming" or "not at all welcoming," and this view was shared by 53.9 percent of students from Hong Kong.

The survey was conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS), through member student unions and "network partners." Participants included undergraduates (871), postgraduate taught students (710), postgraduate research students (453), and those on other degree types (1,071). PhD students were consistently the most critical, with 66 percent polling the UK as "unwelcoming" or "very unwelcoming."

Around three-quarters of respondents also said that access to free healthcare was either important or very important in their decision to choose the UK, and 28 percent said they had had problems finding accommodation.

A new Immigration Bill, which is currently under legislative scrutiny, will bring in a GBP150 NHS charge, and place private landlords at the risk of being fined if they do not check the immigration status of their tenants.

NUS international students' officer Daniel Stevens said that the figures confirmed what the NUS had been saying, and he attacked what he called the Government's "hostile and overzealous policies," which he said were "unworkable, expensive and discriminatory."

Tags: United Kingdom | Education | Expats | Welfare | Education |


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