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The Society of Biology is disappointed that Government has dismissed concerns about the current immigration policy for STEM students coming to the UK. We responded to the House of Lords Science & Technology Select Committee inquiry into international STEM students and immigration policy earlier in the year, highlighting the importance of international students to the culture and economic viability of Higher Education Institutions in the UK.

The Select Committee incorporated several of our recommendations into its report, including the need for clear communications from Government about the ‘openness’ of the UK to international students and academics, and to address contradictory immigration policies. We and the committee also asked for the costs of visa applications to be lowered, and that the issues around post-study work visas are addressed.

In the Government’s response to the inquiry report, they reject the notion that there is a lack of clarity and consistent messaging about the UK’s attitude towards international STEM students, and reject recommendations for a simplified and more appealing set of immigration rules.

Government states that visa applications by those seeking to study at UK universities in the last year had increased on previous years. The Committee Chairman responded: "We feel strongly that increased visa applications do not necessarily lead to increased enrolments."

The Society of Biology believes that to be successful, science relies on free movement of experts and information. We will continue to champion fair and sustainable policies that enable the UK to attract the brightest minds.

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