Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Political Science (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Steven Engel


How has the rise in immigration around the world affected international students in obtaining student visas? Many states in the Global North are implementing restrictive immigration policies to combat the high influx of immigrants. Using the United Kingdom (UK) as a case study, I investigate how these policies have led to a decrease in the number of international students enrolled in higher education institutions (HEIs) throughout the UK. This has led to negative impacts on the higher education sector and economy, forcing politicians to reconsider and backtrack on immigration policies regarding international students in late 2017. Through the lens of the Liberal Paradox, I explain why a state is at odds between having restrictive and open policies towards immigrants. By studying the two policies and their effects in the UK and abroad, I look at why the UK government proposed new reforms to backtrack on the restrictive policies directed towards international students. I argue that public policy ideals, the policy’s effect on the economy and the higher education sector, and public opinion on the issue are the main drivers of this policy reversal, not even ten years after its initial adoption.