Arguing for an international student-friendly visa policy, the University of Oxford vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton said on Monday he was doing his best to lobby at the highest levels of the British government on the issue.
Last year, the UK government announced that from this April, it will do away with the post-study two-year work visa that allowed students to work immediately after completing their degree. Universities were worried this would affect the flow of international students.
“Oxford has been very prominent in pressing for welcoming a visa policy,” said Hamilton, who arrived in Mumbai on Monday and is on a three-city trip in the country. “I have had meetings at the highest level of the government, including the UK Prime Minister and the home secretary, to argue the case for a welcoming visa policy.”
Hamilton pointed out that in place of the post-study visa, there were other options for students to stay and work in the UK. “One of the things we were worried about greatly was the closure of the post-study work programme and I am pleased the government has made alternative mechanisms possible,” said Hamilton. “It’s a little more limited but it is still very much there so we will work with (our) students to help them find work.”
Hamilton’s next visit is to Delhi and Kolkata to meet government, university officials and alumni, to strengthen research collaborations and explore new ones. He is also here to commemorate the 100th year of the Oxford University Press in India.
There are around 340 Indian enrolled students at Oxford. Hamilton said the world of higher education was becoming increasingly competitive. “The Indian Institutes of Technology have outstanding strength in some areas, the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) is an outstanding institute so the competition from India is increasing and that’s healthy,” said Hamilton.