Potential visa cuts anger UEA vice-chancellor

The vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia hit out at MPs yesterday over plans to limit the number of UK visas given to international students.

Professor Edward Acton warned ministers in Westminster that measures to tackle visa abuse could have a damaging affect on universities, the economy in the east and the future recruitment of bona fide international students.

Currently, the government is proposing to cut visas for international students studying below degree level and to raise the English language requirements.

Professor Acton said: 'The impact on the pre-university pathway courses would be gravest, costing universities around �1 billion in fee income alone. If implemented in their current form, these measures would amount to a hostile act against Britain's universities and undermine Britain's reputation for welcoming perfectly legitimate prospective students to this country.'

Meanwhile, Professor Acton claimed data used to create the government policy is unreliable and has suggested ways of making accurate estimates of the number of international students leaving the UK at the end of their courses.