International students feel 'unwelcome' in UK: survey

International students feel 'unwelcome' in UK: survey

A majority of international students studying in the UK feel unwelcome with pupils from India, Pakistan and Nigeria most likely to advise their friends not to study in the country, according to a survey.

The study of the attitudes of 3,100 international students by the National Union of Students shows that more than 50 per cent believed the UK Government was either "not welcoming" or "not welcoming at all towards overseas students".

Figures in the survey released yesterday showed PhD students are most likely to feel unwelcome (65.8 per cent) with those from Japan (64.5 per cent), Nigeria (62.8 per cent) and India (62 per cent) the next most likely to say they have received hostile treatment.

Students from India, Pakistan and Nigeria are most likely to advise their friends not to study here, The Independent reported.

Asked what most perturbed them, 40 per cent cited moves to get landlords to check on their legal status - while 74 per cent said introducing an National Health Service levy would make it either impossible or more difficult to study in the UK, the survey said.

Student leaders argue the figures are "extremely worrying" as international students are estimated to contribute over 7.9 billion pounds a year to the UK economy, the report in the daily said.

Figures show a drop in recruits last year - from 239,000 to 197,000 - although the latest Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) statistics indicate they are rising again this year.

"Many international students feel unwelcome in the UK as a result of the Government's hostile and overzealous policies," Daniel Stevens, the NUS' international students' officer, was quoted as saying by the daily.

"The immigration bill's proposals are set to create new barriers to international students at the same time that our global competitors are welcoming them with open arms," he said.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "International students make a huge contribution - boosting our economy and enhancing our cultural life. That is why there is no cap on the number of legitimate students who can study here." 

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