UK visa policy has deterred international business students and caused an 8.6 per cent decline in non-EU intake last year, according to a report published today by the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) which also highlights the integral role of agent-based recruitment in the sector.
The report, UK Business Schools and International Student Recruitment: Trends, challenges and the case for change, is based on data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and a survey of 44 members of CABS, which represents business colleges at UK universities.
Using HESA data, the authors said the number of first-year non-EU students on business and administration programmes in the UK declined 8.6 per cent to 60,190, the lowest level since 2009/10.
The overall number of non-EU students on business and administration degrees fell by 4.2 per cent to 101,160, the smallest total in the last five years.
Business and administration courses account for one third of all non-EU higher education students in the UK, CABS said, adding that business schools are net contributors to university finances.
The survey of CABS members showed that 80 per cent of participating institutions stated that processing of visa applications by UK authorities had damaged recruitment, and more than two-thirds believed that support for business schools by government in other countries had made them more attractive to international students.
The authors said that the drop of intake last year equated to a loss of UK£135.5 million (US$192.5 million) for universities and their local economies.
With regards to usage of agents by UK business schools, almost three quarters of schools definitely agreed or mostly agreed that ‘agents have played an increasingly important role in helping us recruit international students’.