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New plans to allow international students to work more part-time hours have been criticised by some of the UK’s most prestigious universities.

The Russell Group of research-intensive universities said the proposal – which comes just days after plans emerged to cut the length of the country’s post-study work visa – sends a mixed message and undermines the country’s reputation.

Ministers are exploring ways to encourage students to take on more part-time work to combat the country’s shortage of workers, The Times reported. They are reportedly considering upping the 20-hour limit of paid work per week that international students may undertake, or removing it altogether.

Such a move might make UK higher education a more attractive prospect to applicants, thus increasing the almost 700,000 learners from overseas who already study in the country.

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