The number of international students in Britain may drop drastically if plans to slash the quota by as much as half are realised.
Among the options that the UK Home Office is mulling over is one that would see the number fall from 300,000 a year to just 170,000, reported The Guardian on Monday (Dec 12).
The crackdown comes as no surprise. Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced in October that there would be major new restrictions on overseas students, who account for 167,000 of the 600,000 new migrants each year.
She said then that the plans included a multi-tiered student visa system, under which the quality of the course and the university involved would affect rights to bring in families and their right to work.
Many, however, did not expect the cuts to be so severe.
University heads told The Guardian that many good overseas applicants were already unable to secure visas due to spurious reasons such as not knowing the name of the university's vice-chancellor and not knowing the opening hours of the university library.
Prof Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, told The Guardian: "The Home Office seems to have decided that cutting international students is the only way of delivering the manifesto target of getting net migration down to the tens of thousands. But it doesn’t address people’s concerns about immigration."