Press release

MillionPlus welcomes the government’s International Education Strategy

16 Mar 2019

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (16 March) welcomed the government’s new International Education Strategy.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“Universities are critical export earners for the UK and greatly expand our soft power globally. This new strategy shows welcome recognition and ambition from the government towards strengthening our status as an attractive destination for international students. A better post-study work offer will boost the economy and benefit businesses needing high level skills, while a new target for international student recruitment is also the right step.

“This goal will be hindered, however, without major changes to the international student visa application process and the arbitrary way in which compliance is assessed.

“MillionPlus has this week called for a new approach to provisional visas, along with proposals to scrap the unnecessary blockages in the current compliance system. Only with action to address these points will the ambitious target for recruitment in the strategy be reached.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. A new approach to student visas by MillionPlus is available here. The briefing outlines two proposals to improve the application process. The first would see the introduction of new out-of-country provisional visas to be issued by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) before a prospective student applies to their chosen university. The second involves streamlining and simplifying the current compliance regime by phasing out the general use of credibility interviews, where far too much subjectivity is built into the process, and by scrapping the arbitrary 10% maximum refusal rate for highly trusted providers such as universities.
  3. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  4. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  5. Modern universities: key facts 2018