Earlier this year, the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee conducted an inquiry into the impact of the changes to immigration regulations on international STEM students. As a subject dear to the hearts of EPC members, we submitted our views to this inquiry, both in writing and EPC past President, Professor Helen Atkinson CBE FREng, was invited to give oral evidence.
The Government has today published its response which the Chair of the Committee has branded as “disappointing”. The Committee found that “changes to the immigration rules in this country had played a direct part in putting overseas students off from choosing the UK and urged the Government to overhaul its ‘contradictory’ policies’. The Government has largely rejected the recommendations, maintaining that visa applications in the UK continue to rise. The Government has, however, confirmed that it will improve the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), saying:
“We are taking action to improve the service further, replacing the current ATAS online application system with a new service which should significantly improve its resilience and efficiency, while enabling us to keep it free of charge to the customer. It will have an improved user interface, enabling students to monitor the progress of their application. The new application system is in the final stages of development, and we expect the improved service to be introduced in the coming months. In the light of this report and other feedback, we shall also take steps to clarify the subjects that are covered by ATAS and communicate this to academic institutions”.
Members can read the EPC consultation input and the full response from the Government here.
Non members may read the response on the Government’s website.