Inventor and business leader James Dyson, writing in the Guardian, has launched a stinging attack on the plans:
May’s immigration plans simply force the nimble minds we nurture to return home and fuel competition from overseas. Why would they return?
The hard truth is that the home-grown postgraduate population is pitifully thin, so companies such as Rolls-Royce take their research and engineering capability overseas.
He argued "our borders must remain open to the world's best" and Britain would suffer "long-term economic decline" if it pursued a more restrictionist policy on foreign students. His article echoed the arguments made by the science group Campaign for Science and Engineering.
Last month, the group said scientific progress in the UK will be damaged, and universities' reputations would suffer if the home secretary went ahead with plans to clamp down on foreign students.
Under the proposed scheme, non-EU students would have to go home and apply for a work visa if they want to live in the UK after graduation. The current rules allow non-EU students to stay in the UK for four months after graduating while they look for work.
A new report released today from London First and the London Enterprise Panel warned that anti-immigrant rhetoric was making the UK increasingly unattractive to foreign workers and entrepreneurs. The report was commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has been significantly more pro-immigration than his Tory colleague Theresa May.