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Boris Johnson Welcomes Indian Students

London Mayor Boris Johnson has continued to welcome Indian students to Britain as part of his tour of the country. All this week he has been in India promoting British universities and strengthening ties with their Indian counterparts, whilst also taking the opportunity to slam the recent changes to international student visas.

India has a population of 1.2 billion people, and half of them are under the age of 25, making it the perfect country to target for growth at British universities. Indeed, during a visit to Amity University, south of Delhi, the Mayor emphasised London as a study option for the university's students:

"As Mayor I will do all I can to promote London as a place that is open for business and open to the brightest talent in the world. International students not only bring bright ideas that cement the reputations of our leading universities, they have huge spending power that boosts the UK economy."

Amity University already has a small campus in London and Mr Johnson encouraged the idea of it expanding. The Chancellor of the university, Atul Chauhan explained:

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Boris Defends Overseas Students - Video

London's mayor Boris Johnson has repeatedly come to the aid of foreign students during his visit to India, calling for fewer restrictions on student visas.

Boris's trip to India has been used to send a clear message to Indian students that London is still welcoming international talent as it re-establishes itself as a 'global centre for education'. 

This comes at a time when last summer's chaos surrounding London Met university sparked uncertainty amongst Indians abroad over whether the UK was mistreating its overseas visitors.

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Boris Johnson Latest to Question Visa Restrictions

London Mayor Boris Johnson is the latest in a long line of prominent figures in Britain to question the government's decision to increase restrictions on student visas. Being a member of the Conservative party that introduced the new rules, the attack carries even more weight and shows the widespread concern over the changes.

The Mayor focussed on the financial side of the things, emphasising the importance of international students to Britain:

"[The visa changes] are not in the interests of London and the UK economy... We are losing a massive business opportunity here which is completely crazy for the UK market, which is brilliant at higher education, to be closing itself off from some of the best and brightest students from around the world."

The Mayor is making a week-long trip to India later this month, to visit New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad in an attempt to further develop economic ties with the country. He revealed that whilst there, one of the main issues he'll be discussing will be the recent student visa changes and that he hopes to gain "ammunition" to support his argument against them.

Whilst admitting that a tougher immigration policy in Britain may be needed, he argued that current restrictions are going about it in completely the wrong manner:

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David Miliband Slams Student Visa Restrictions

David Miliband has slammed the recent government changes to the visa system that make it harder for international students to study in the UK. Speaking to Times Higher Education, the ex-foreign secretary argued that the changes are "curtailing the attractiveness of British higher education, [and] doing a great injury to our future".

International students have recently been dragged in to the immigration debate in the UK, due to the fact they are currently counted in the regular net migration figures. This has been a problem ever since the government pledged to cut immigration to under 100,000- a policy Mr Miliband called a "political slogan" rather than a "sensible" immigration policy.

Prominent figures in higher education have been arguing that international students should not be counted in these figures, though so far these calls have fallen on deaf ears. Instead Prime Minister David Cameron has introduced a number of new restrictions on both study and post-study work visas for non-EU students.

Mr Miliband has questioned the wisdom of such policies, saying:

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London Met Loses More than Half its International Students

The true extent of the damage done to London Metropolitan University's international student community over the last few months has been revealed. After the students were told in August that they would not be allowed to study at the university, that decision was then overturned, though more than 55% of the international students have still ended up leaving London Met.

This is just the latest in a string of headlines about London Met's international students over the last few months. The problems started when the UK Border Agency revoked the university's visa licence, meaning that with just a matter of weeks before the start of a new academic year, thousands of non-EU students were left stranded. However, after winning the right to appeal the decision, the university was given a temporary reprieve and its students were given the option to study at the institution until the end the current academic year.

Despite this change of decision, of the 1,385 students who were given the option of staying at the university, only 620 chose to do so. The reasons for this low uptake are numerous.

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