Speaking ahead of an address to Indian students in Delhi, the London Mayor said new rules introduced last year by ministers to slash the number of bogus colleges sent out the “wrong signal”, adding that he feared they would hit the £2.5 billion revenue stream British universities earn from overseas students.
The industry played an important part in subsidising domestic undergraduates, the mayor said, as he announced plans to set up an Education Export Commission with central Government to examine whether foreign students were now choosing to study in the United States, Canada and Australia instead.
Mr Johnson has been a vocal opponent of the new restrictions, which include higher standards of English literacy and refusing overseas graduates the right to stay in the UK unless they can secure a job with a salary above £20,000.
“As I have written several times to the Home Secretary, we need to see a strong statement of welcome to make sure that the visa system is not a deterrent to international students,” he said.
“The extra stipulations such as the need to have a salary of up to a certain amount before you are allowed to stay on mean we need to be very careful that we are not doing stuff that actively deters foreign students.”