The head of Cambridge University has slammed the government's inclusion of overseas students in the UK migration target as "ludicrous" and "crazy".
"One of the biggest threats currently facing UK universities is the issue of international movement and controls on immigration," Sir Leszek Borysiewicz wrote in a pamphlet entitled A Story of Immigration, Students and Targets.
"It is a threat that clashes profoundly with both my values and the values of all higher education institutions, especially research-intensive universities."
He also argued that, if UK universities are to remain competitive internationally, then they must be able to recruit international staff and students freely.
The comments come against a backdrop of increasingly negative rhetoric surrounding the immigration debate.
In the run-up to the General Election Theresa May floated moving towards "zero net student migration", under which international students would have been sent home once their degrees had finished. However, this was soon quashed by George Osborne.
But Borysiewicz was highly critical, saying that it was negatively framing immigrants' "important" contribution to the economy.
He drew on his own experiences as the child of Polish migrants who moved to Wales after WW2 – saying the educational opportunities available helped him to the position he has today.