Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt attended the Global Business Summit on Education and later spoke of the importance of UK-Arab education links “I am proud that tens of thousands
of students from the Middle East and North Africa come to the UK to study.”
However, recent changes to student visa applications which came into effect on July 30 will make it harder for students from “high risk” countries to study in the UK. A pilot project of 2,300 candidates denied visas to an extra 32% on top of the existing 17% before the new scheme. New factors include study plans, financial means tests and intention to return home after their studies. The new process involves an interview process and further paperwork than before according to the ICEF.
Mr Burt called “Education a key part of the UK response to the Arab Spring. In Lebanon we are supporting reform of the education system to include the principles of tolerance, co-existence and inclusive citizenship.”
While it may become harder for students to study on UK courses in the UK, there is a growing trend of UK educational institutions moving into the lucrative middle-eastern market such as in the UAE where 10 UK institutions provide over 30 graduate and post-graduate degrees. The Foreign Office Minister stated “I hope that today’s event will lead to further partnerships as we extend the International Education Advisory Forum and the business department’s international education programme, which has supported the development of 26 higher education partnerships across the Gulf since 2006.”