- United States
The migrant Chinese workers and Chinese students currently residing in the United Kingdom (UK) are faced with much disappointment at the hands of the UK government for introducing strict immigration reforms.
The UK government started tightening its immigration policies when the current administration took hold of the affairs of the country in 2010. By march this year the government, fulfilling is promise to cut down net migrant rate in the country, was able to decrease the number of visas issued this year to 13 percent less than the last 12 months altogether.
According to the figures issued by the Home Office, the 13 percent decrease includes 21 percent decrease in student visas, 16 percent decrease in family visas and 8 percent decrease in the work visas issued during the last 12 months. These figures do not include visitor visas and transit visas.
The Chinese community in the United Kingdom is preparing, like all other immigrant communities, to face the new reforms. Out of the 108,000 Chinese living in the UK, majority belongs to the students.
Such policy curbs are sure to affect them, along with others, shifting the course of their lives from what they had in mind when they came here, to the one they will be forced to take.
However, Chinese students in the UK higher education system experienced an increase in their numbers to 67,325 in the 2010-2011. This is a 43 percent increment in quantity as compared to the figures of 2008-2009. Where the number of students already in the system is increasing, the number of student applications has also been calculated by the UK Visa and International Education center. Philip Hao, from the center, said that the number of student visa applicants from china is expected to be 100,000 this year.
Such increase is being credited to the joint degree programs that almost 400 top Chinese universities have. According to this program student finish first couple of years in the Chinese universities and the remaining in foreign based universities.
Even though this increase can be regarded as a positive aspect in current situation, another policy change has rendered it, to an extent, limited.
The post-study work visa facility, that allowed the students to stay a further 2 years in UK after their courses have concluded to look for jobs, has been abolished by the government. Due to this the number of Chinese students considering UK universities for higher studies is compelled to compare them with universities in other countries like Australia and America.
Some universities have already started reporting an extensive decline in per annum applications they receive from foreign students. Universities claim that such a curb will result in a loss of more than 5 billion pounds per annum to them. The reason for this is that UK universities charge almost four times extra fees from foreign students, and with these policies in effect, they will not be getting that extra amount of income anymore.
The Heads of some of the Universities have appealed to David Cameron’s administration that the Chinese students are one of the biggest contributors to this 5 billion pound plus figure. They said that such rigidity in policies is bound to affect the country’s economy.
But the government also has its hands tied. The local citizens are pressurizing the government to increase the inflexibility of these immigration policies. They are of the view that immigrants are responsible for job and resource shortages in the country.
Chairmen of Migration Watch UK, Andrew Green said, “Unemployment among recent British graduates is now about 20 percent. They already have to compete with the European Union graduates. It is inexcusable that tens of thousands of jobs should go to foreign graduates without any requirement to test the local market first.”
On the other hand, the businessmen and industrialists are urging the government to keep this immigration curbs limited to foreign students. To bring these policies on the business immigration would decrease foreign investment into the country, “which we know are very popular among Chinese businesses,” they said.
It would not be unfair to say that a paradox has been created in this issue which is contradicting with its own needs and requirements. The reforms, however, are a necessity for the government yet they can’t implement them without a loss to the country’s economy.
Tags: Andrew Green, Chinese living in the UK, David Cameron, England, Immigration, immigration policies, Migrant Chinese workers, UK Home Office, UK immigration, United Kingdom, Work in UK