Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) update

We note last week's publication of the UK Government-commissioned Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) review of the Graduate Visa Route, which was strongly in favour of existing visa rules supporting international student recruitment while also highlighting the £42bn contribution to the UK economy annually, which makes the sector the country's third largest revenue generator. This support from the government-appointed committee is particularly important since with domestic UK undergraduate fees capped since 2017-18, and with overseas student fees set at much higher levels, universities are increasingly and significantly reliant on international students to cover their costs and enable them to sustain publicly funded teaching and research activities as well as other student support activities.   

Malvern International is a leading learning and language skills development partner, with a diversified model, which includes providing a pathway for international students' essential academic and English language skills, together with cultural experiences and the support they need to thrive in their academic studies, daily life and career development.  We support the MAC report's recommendations regarding agents, which we believe will be helpful in maintaining appropriate levels of quality and commitment on the part of universities and providers.  Malvern International is an advocate for, and adheres to, the UK's existing Agent Quality Framework, and welcomes initiatives to extend this, for instance around improved systems and training for agents.

Following the government's previous alteration to student immigration rules in January 2024, universities across the UK have seen a significant decline in postgraduate international student numbers (January 2024 intake) though with our primarily undergraduate pathway focus this has not had a material effect on Malvern.  We view the current uncertainty around international students as unhelpful and are encouraged by the conclusion in the MAC report that the graduate route is working well, with no evidence of abuse, and should be retained in its current form, which now awaits central government response.


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