“There is a welcome for overseas students in Wales” – First Minister
Post-Brexit Wales will welcome overseas students and the Welsh Government will press the UK government to ensure they do not fall victim of plans to reduce immigration. That was the message from First Minister Carwyn Jones when he addressed students and academics at Bangor University today.
The First Minister said: “Let me make it very clear there is a welcome for overseas students here, those already in Wales, and those thinking about studying in Wales.
“The last UK Government made a terrible mistake in its approach to student visas. Overseas students became a soft target in the quest to meet an impossible immigration promise.
“Sadly, rather than re-visit this approach – the new Government seem ready to double down on that approach. The effect of this attitude is to cut the numbers of overseas students applying to study in the UK. Not just because of new restrictive laws, but because of the damaging perception that this is not a welcoming environment any longer.
“Our position then, is that we want the UK Government to take international students out of net immigration targets. We will continue to press this case.
“Post Brexit, we need a higher education system that allows institutions to continue to collaborate freely and to work together across Europe and the globe. A system that allows our students to travel and study in other countries and ensures Wales continues to be a welcoming place for those from abroad to learn and to work.
“These collaborations must continue. We will work with universities to make sure that these bridges are maintained and strengthened in years to come.”
In his key note speech the First Minister also set out the Welsh Government’s seven key objectives for negotiations with the UK Government and the EU Commission. These are:
- To secure guarantees regarding the visa and citizenship status of EU nationals working in UK universities.
- To agree reciprocal arrangements regarding student tuition fees so that Welsh students studying in the EU pay local student fee levels and EU students studying in Wales are treated as UK students for the purpose of fees and the costs of study.
- Participate in the post-study work visa scheme currently being piloted in four English universities.
- Maintain regional development funding levels in Wales by appropriate adjustments to the block grant.
- Continue to engage in Horizon 2020 and other EU led research schemes.
- Participate in the ERASMUS+ scheme of staff and student exchange.
- Greater outward mobility by students and staff studying and working in Welsh universities.