Boris Johnson Latest to Question Visa Restrictions

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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:

"A tough immigration policy would have said that you can't come here unless you have a visible means of support and are not going to be a burden on the National Health Service or housing system...people understand that...what they don't understand is excluding talented people."

Universities Minister Welcomes New Growth

David Willets- British Minister for Universities and Science, has also been emphasising the importance of international students to the UK. Writing in the Telegraph national newspaper, he drew particular attention to working with countries where higher education is rapidly developing:

"Higher education is at the early stages of globalisation...Middle-income nations such as Indonesia, Turkey or Brazil are witnessing a surge in the number of young people. British higher education providers can work with them to achieve a rapid expansion of higher education."

He went on to praise the quality of British universities:

"Education is already a great British export industry. We have excellent universities. We shouldn't just be defending it. We should be celebrating its vigour and diversity and exporting it across the world."

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