The proposed cap will be difficult for universities as a significant proportion of the academic workforce is, and always has been, international. In the UK, over 10 per cent of all our academic staff are non-EU nationals and many are working in key subject areas such as science, technology and engineering.
The success of the UK’s higher education sector depends on our ability to attract the most highly talented people to work and study here. Anything that diminishes our ability to do this will undermine the quality of what we do and our ability to compete internationally.
This lamentably crude approach to reducing immigration to the UK does not make one optimistic that they will come up with a more sensible way to regulate overseas students. If they end up choking off the flow of overseas students, that would be complete catastrophe (a short-term one; the impact on staff hiring is a long-term one).