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UK's immigration policy attacked by Oxford University boss

Oxford University's vice chancellor has agreed that new government visa controls are “hostile” to international students according to The Independent. Professor Andrew Hamilton said in his annual address to the university,: “Whenever I travel in the world, particularly in China and India, one question persists. Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?”

Professor Andrew Hamilton Professor Andrew Hamilton
07-10-2014 by The Independent

Oxford University's vice-chancellor has agreed that new Government visa controls are “hostile” to international students.

Professor Andrew Hamilton said in his annual address to the university: “Whenever I travel in the world, particularly in China and India, one question persists. Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?" “I do my best to answer but, frankly, the question baffles me as well. For the first time in decades, the number of international students at our universities has dropped, most markedly from India. Why are we doing this to them – and to ourselves?”

According to Professor Hamilton, the Government’s stance was having a harmful effect on the UK’s interests. He added however, that he had “limited expectation” that a real debate on higher education “as opposed to vainglorious point-scoring on past crimes and misdemeanours" would be on the agenda in next year's run up to the election. Professor Hamiliton expressed his saddness in this regard “because it is exactly the sort of issue on which a real effort to find a new meaningful consensus between the parties would be of immense benefit – benefit, of course, to the students and to the universities of the future.”

Professor Hamilton’s comments came on the same day as John O’Keefe, a professor of neuroscience at University College London and Nobel prizewinner, voiced his concerns over the possible impact of Government immigration policy on scientific research in the UK.

Professor O’Keefe said: “The immigration rules are a very, very large obstacle [to recruiting scientists]. We should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place.”

During his annual address to Oxford University, Professor Hamilton also spoke out about why Oxford was against supporting the Government’s plea for it to sponsor an academy.  He said: “We believe that our education expertise should be available to children across our city, regardless of ability or background." “For all its success, this is not something the academy model can deliver. For that reason, there is no Oxford Academy.”

The university was supporting however, a partnership with 11 state schools in the city.  This served to link its trainee teachers with local secondary schools in a scheme which “promotes collaboration among schools rather than competition between them”.